April 23, 2006
Workers put Mapp on 90-day warning
New Zealand’s largest trade union is putting National Party industrial relations spokesman Wayne Mapp on 90 days’ notice of mass industrial protest.
“If in 90 days he hasn’t scrapped his bill to let employers sack new employees for any reason, we will launch a massive public campaign against it,” said EPMU national secretary Andrew Little.
The public protest will start with a mass stopwork meeting and march on Parliament on July 20 – 90 days from today.
Mr Little said that the Dr Mapp’s Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment Bill was a naked attack on workers’ employment rights.
“This bill would allow employers to sack people for any reason whatsoever within 90 days of starting a new job,” he said.
“It will affect everybody – from a 16-year-old starting his or her first job, to the 45-year-old with a mortgage and family to support. They could be sacked without even being given a reason, and won’t be able to do a thing about it.”
Mr Little said that employers were already allowed to hire new workers on probationary periods, but there were rules around the way in which probationary periods worked.
“The National Party bill would take those rules away,” he said.
“This proposal has nothing to do with probationary periods and everything to do with stripping away the rights of working New Zealanders, and there is no justification for it.”
New Zealanders need only look across the Tasman to see the impact of such a law, he said.
“In Australia, employers with fewer than 100 workers have recently been given the right to fire anyone with impunity, and the country is stunned by the wholesale sackings that started the minute the provision came into law.”
“The French government tried a similar thing with workers up to 26 years of age, but the law has been thrown out because it was so unpopular with the public.”
Submissions to the select committee considering the bill close on May 19 and it will be reported back to the Parliament in September.