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National can’t fudge ‘fire at will’ policy

September 15, 2008
Media Release

National can’t fudge ‘fire at will’ policy

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says when it comes to the National Party’s work rights policies it’s time to call a spade a spade.

The call follows a National Party media release today which claims the party “opposes a ‘fire at will’ policy”, while at the same time supporting policy that would allow employers to fire staff “without a personal grievance being brought.”

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says National is deliberately trying to fudge a policy it knows to be deeply unpopular with the public.

“Giving employers the right to sack employees during a trial period and denying those employees the right to take a personal grievance is a fire at will policy, no matter how National tries to dress it up.

“There’s no point in talking about natural justice when you can be sacked for no reason. There is no justice at all in that.

“National also continues to misrepresent the EPMU’s position on probationary employment by conflating our long-standing support for the fair trial periods under the Employment Relations Act with National’s ‘fire at will’ policy.

“The difference is simple, under the current provisions workers are guaranteed the right to ongoing training, a fair process and a right to appeal against unfair dismissal. National would remove those rights and allow employers to fire their staff at will.

“Kate Wilkinson is a lawyer and she knows the difference between a probation period and a no-rights period, it’s just she also knows she can’t afford to be upfront about National’s attacks on workers’ rights.”

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.


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