July 20, 2006
Note – an estimated 1500 to 2000 workers were at the rally, although several buses arrived late.
Workers tell Nats what they think
Workers told the National Party today what they think of its no-rights-for-new-workers bill when they turned out in atrocious Wellington weather to protest outside Parliament.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that the National Party MPs who turned up at the lunchtime rally should have little doubt about the way workers feel about the Employment Relations (Probationary Period) Amendment Bill.
“Workers were very vocal in their condemnation of this bill, and the National MPs have no excuse for not knowing what impact it will have on working people.”
Mr Little told the rally that stripping away the workplace protections of new workers was outrageous.
“What sort of country is it that has an employment law that attacks people at their most vulnerable time, when they’ve just started a new job,” he said.
“What sort of employer is it who is unable to manage workers in a dignified and respectful way?
“And what sort of politician is it who promotes a law that attacks the rights of working people?”
Mr Little said that the Work Rights, Our Right! campaign would continue for as long as the National Party attack on workplace rights continued.
“The National Party should realise that working people will fight for their hard-won workplace rights,” he said.
Yesterday the EPMU released research that showed that 81 per cent of working people thought that the bill would make it easier for employers to sack workers for no reason, and just 22 per cent thought it would make it easier to find a job.
The bill has passed its first reading in Parliament, and is now before the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee.
Further rallies will be held in Christchurch this Saturday, and in Auckland on August 23. Officials estimate that 1500 workers were at today’s rally.