CTU Media Advisory
28 July 2008
CTU Critique - National's Employment Policy
Please find attached the CTU's critique of National's employment policy, released last Thursday. The introductory paragraphs are below. This document is also online here: http://union.org.nz/policy/ctu-critique-nationals-2008-employment-policy
A glass third full…
National’s employment policy is at least a step back from the extremes of the 1990s work rights framework, and the Employment Relations Act with its emphasis on workers and employers bargaining in good faith will remain. National has dropped their previous policy of removing the ability for workers experiencing stress to have protections under Health and Safety law. They have not foreshadowed a repeal of the youth rates gains (which they voted against) or recent flexible working arrangements provisions (which again they voted against, but perhaps John Key has noted that UK Tory leader David Cameron is such a fan of their comparable legislation, and wants to extend it!) The CTU has called for cross party support for the social partnership model, which, with its problem-solving culture, is acknowledged as a big contributor to the economic success of several comparable small countries, and National’s support for this is welcomed.
But two thirds empty…
However, genuine social partners don’t take the ground out from each other. Social partnership cannot exist without basic human rights protections, including the right of workers to join independent trade unions and bargain collectively. Workers reacted negatively to National’s plan last time to remove the right of new workers to a fair hearing from their employer, and will do so again. And, critically, National has no plan on how to lift wages in New Zealand; rather their policies will do the exact opposite. In the 1990s, it was low paid workers who bore the brunt of National’s workplace reforms, and history looks set to repeat if they are elected.