August 31, 2004
Business confused over Labour Court
“Business New Zealand’s attack on the Employment Court is completely misguided and ill-founded,” Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
Business NZ today called for the Employment Court to be replaced because of the time and cost involved in taking cases, and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce yesterday claimed that employers were paying up to resolve conflicts rather than incurring legal costs.
“Neither organisation mentioned that there is a free Government mediation service and an Employment Relations Authority disputes process which doesn’t require lawyers,” Ross Wilson said.
Even employers had acknowledged that these services were operating extremely well, he said.
“Business NZ is correct in drawing attention to the low level of awards,” Ross Wilson said. “The CTU also supports action by the Authority to lift awards to realistic levels.”
Employers should be told that they don’t need lawyers at mediation or the Authority, and there is certainly no case for attacking the Employment Court because of lawyers fees.
“The reality is that almost all disputes are resolved at mediation or the Authority level and only a very few get to the Court.
“Business seems to be on its old hobby horse, tilting at windmills.”