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CTU joins Labour in misleading scare campaign

Kate Wilkinson MP
National Party Industrial Relations Spokeswoman


15 September 2008

CTU joins Labour in misleading scare campaign

National Party Industrial Relations spokeswoman Kate Wilkinson says the CTU must be alarmed that the Labour-affiliated EPMU supports probationary periods for new employees, given its overt attacks on National today.

"Pamphlets handed out by the CTU today repeat misleading statements about National's 90-day probation period for new employees in businesses with less that 20 staff."

The union movement's main claim is that it opposes a 'fire at will' policy.

"So does National. These unions are deliberately seeking to misrepresent National's policy and we expected that.

"National has a carefully considered position on the 90-day probation period."

National's policy says that during the trial period, either party may terminate the employment relationship for performance, without a personal grievance claim being brought.

"Personal grievance provisions would still apply for matters not related to performance. Good-faith provisions will apply, as will rights to sick leave, holidays, and health and safety provisions. Rules of natural justice and human rights legislation will be enforced and mediation will be available in disputes.

"New Zealand is almost the only country in the OECD that does not have a probationary period for new employees who employers might consider risky at first glance.

"This is an effort by National to give opportunities to people who might not otherwise be given a chance to get on the employment ladder. The EPMU employs staff on a six month probationary period, so clearly that union thinks these are useful."

Ms Wilkinson says the pamphlet also makes misleading claims about restricting workers' rights to onsite representation, and that workers would be under pressure to sacrifice one week of their holidays.

"The claim about representation is quite untrue, and on holidays, National has made it clear that any proposal to exchange a week's holiday for cash has to be at the employee's request."

Ms Wilkinson says instead of running a relentlessly negative campaign based on the arguments of yesterday, the union movement should be focused on what New Zealand needs for tomorrow.

"That's a growing economy, increased after-tax wages, higher standards in education, safety in our communities, and an infrastructure programme that will clear some of the gridlock in our economy."

ENDS

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