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EPMU welcomes Labour's employment relations policy

October 26, 2008

Media Release

EPMU welcomes Labour's employment relations policy

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says Labour's employment relations policy will provide security for workers and their families in a time of increasing economic uncertainty.

The policy builds on nine years of improvements in workers' rights and addresses the key issues of the EPMU's Work Rights Checklist, which was endorsed by 16,500 workers across New Zealand this August.

EPMU acting national secretary Ged O'Connell says Labour's employment relations policy will ensure working families do not bear the brunt of the economic downturn.

"There's little doubt we're heading into a global economic downturn that will mean a sharp rise in unemployment and increased pressure on Kiwis' wages and conditions over the next few years.

"Labour's package will provide financial security for workers facing redundancy and enable them to retrain during the downturn so we can hit the ground running when the economy rebounds.

"The policy also lays out a clear plan to lift wages and close the gap with Australia by strengthening industry bargaining, dealing with freeloading and restoring the right of workers to take industrial action to protect their pay and conditions during restructuring.

"Far too often in the past economic downturns have led to cuts in pay and conditions and working families have been left on the scrapheap. Labour's plan provides security and protection for working families at the time when they need it most.

"It's encouraging to see Labour recognises that now is the time to strengthen work rights and wages, not cut them as the National Party is proposing. The contrast between the two parties could not be more stark."

The EPMU is New Zealand's largest private-sector union, representing 50,000 workers across 11 industries.


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