May 5, 2005
National’s plan for a giant leap backwards
The National Party’s industrial relations policy is a giant step backwards, says the country’s largest union.
“National correctly identifies the need to close the income gap between Australia and New Zealand, but kicking unions around the paddock is not the way to do it,” said Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little.
National’s industrial relations policy, released by industrial relations spokesman Wayne Mapp today, was an exercise in union bashing rather than a constructive plan for the future of New Zealand, he said.
“The National Party fails to understand that the current level of industrial unrest is being driven by workers who are angry that they have been getting low or even no pay rises at a time when the country is booming,” Mr Little said.
“Policies that are aimed at sidelining unions and attacking workers’ freedom will simply not work. The challenge for the National Party is to tell the working people of New Zealand what concrete proposals it has for lifting wage rates and living standards. Glib slogans about raising productivity are simply not enough.
“Labour’s Employment Relations Act isn’t perfect, but it does recognise some basic human rights. National’s policy will help to clarify issues in the minds of workers come the next election,” Mr Little said.