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National shows ignorance on employment law

National shows ignorance on employment law

11 September, 2008

Statements made today by National Party employment spokesperson Kate Wilkinson show the National Party's failure to understand basic employment law.

The statements made concern an EPMU employment dispute and indicate the National Party is unaware of the difference between a probationary period and the total removal of work rights as proposed in their 90 day fire at will policy.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says National's ill-informed attack raises serious concerns about the party's understanding of employment law.

"The EPMU has consistently supported the current legal provisions for probationary employment because they require a fair process including a right to raise a personal grievance against unfair dismissal.

"The National Party's plan to introduce a 90 day no-rights period, on the other hand, would simply remove the right to fair process and allow employers to fire their staff at will, with no right to appeal.

"The EPMU believes it is a basic human right that no one should ever be deprived of their livelihood without a good reason and a fair process. National's 90 day fire at will policy would remove that right, and that's why we're campaigning against it.

"Given the major changes National is proposing to New Zealanders' work rights it is a major concern to see such a lack of understanding on employment law."

The EPMU represents 50,000 working New Zealanders across eleven industries and in 2006 led the union campaign to defeat National's 90 day fire at will bill.

During that campaign the EPMU expressed its support for the current probationary provisions under the Employment Relations Act. Examples are available here, here, here, here, here and here. More are available on request.


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