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Law change draconian route to compulsory unionism

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Law change draconian route to compulsory unionism

The last minute add on yesterday to the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill allowing unions to get bargaining agents' fees from non-union employees is draconian, and an undemocratic attempt to introduce de facto compulsory unionism by stealth, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"It will back fire," said Peter Tritt, EMA's Manager of Employment Relations.

"Employees who don't want to join unions will resent having to opt out of paying, and they will see the law for what it is - an attempt to extract the equivalent of union membership dues.

"It exposes the employment relations bill in its true light.

"It makes clear that the Bill's real intention all along was to require employees to either join a union, or pay the equivalent of a union fee.

"Many thousands of employees (88 per cent of employees in the private sector) who currently choose not to belong to a union will take exception to this heavy handedness.

"Many won't like having to specify that they don't want union fees deducted from their wages. Many others will be unable to resist the pressures brought to bear and will simply pay up.

"The amendment provides the means to take our workplaces back as close to compulsory unionism as possible, without actually decreeing that everybody must join the union."

ENDS

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