December 11, 2008
National's ERA bill a double blow for workers in Kiwisaver
National's fire at will bill includes a second blow for Kiwi workers - a move to repeal laws that ensure employers can't deduct their Kiwisaver contribution from their workers' wages.
Clause 10 of the bill effectively reverses the move made early in the year to close the loophole allowing employers to take their contribution out of workers' wages and clauses 8 and 9 remove the ability for workers to take a personal grievance over the issue.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the move will mean unscrupulous employers will be able to avoid their Kiwisaver obligations.
"Before the loophole was closed we had employers try to take their Kiwisaver contribution off the top of wage claims during negotiations but have always made it quite clear that was not an option.
"Other workers have not been so lucky including one apprentice who was having eight percent deducted from his wages for Kiwisaver, his four percent and his employer's four percent.
"The National/Act government is claiming it will clean up this issue in its Kiwisaver bill but how that will work in conjuncture with this is certainly not clear and with no select committee process there will be no chance to find out until it is law.
"Despite wide-ranging concerns about this bill and the fact that we now know it will seriously affect workers' rights and their savings the National/Act government are still intent on ramming it through under urgency. That is simply undemocratic and it is a betrayal of New Zealand workers."
The EPMU has campaigned politically and industrially for employer contributions to Kiwisaver since the scheme was first introduced and led the campaign against National's fire at will law from its first appearance in 2006.