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Right to Work- Workers Rights Not Incompatible

16 March 2006

'Right to Work' and 'Workers Rights' Not Incompatible

"The Maori Party shouldn't feel the need to grapple with a perceived hierarchy of a 'right to work' versus 'workers rights'," said Sharon Clair, Council of Trade Unions Vice President Maori. "These things are not incompatible, but Wayne Mapp's bill will attack them both."

"The CTU Runanga acknowledges the one Maori party member for voting against the bill and clearly for their analysis about the negative effects the bill would have on Maori," said Sharon Clair.

"Maori unemployment has dropped significantly in recent years without a law that allows employers to sack workers with no appeal rights," said Sharon Clair. "We agree that Maori unemployment is still too high but advocate for an investment approach that validates Maori potential. The key issues in the labour market are how to get workers with skills, not how to sack them."

"The Runanga shares the same concerns that the Maori Party does around institutional racism and the disproportionate numbers of Maori who are unemployed, and acknowledge Dr Pita Sharples reference to 'Puao Te Atatu'."

"However 'Puao Te Atatu' provides a framework for social policy based on access, participation and development," said Sharon Clair. "Focusing only on two elements of this framework, and not incorporating development denies the intentions and guiding principles of Puao Te Atatu, and opens the door to racism and power imbalances in employment relations."

"This bill fails to see the long term reality for Maori workers, and we will be making our case at select committee as to why this bill is no help for Maori workers," said Sharon Clair.

ENDS

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