December 12, 2008
EPMU petitions Governor General for fair hearing on fire at will bill
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union today presented an urgent petition to the Governor General, Anand Satyanand, to request he delays or refuses royal assent to the 'fire at will' bill until it has been through the proper select committee process.
The petition has been running just a day and a half but already the EPMU has gathered 4,500 signatures on union worksites and via Facebook.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the bill should go back to Parliament so the people can have their say.
"This legislation will remove all protections against unfair dismissal for workers in small businesses during their first 90 days in the job, meaning 100,000 New Zealanders at any one time will have no protection from being fired without reason.
"Centuries of legal tradition have upheld the principle that the government shouldn't take away a person's right to redress for a legal wrong without first giving them the right to have their say, and by ramming this bill through urgency National has denied all New Zealanders that right.
"What's worse is that this was done against the express advice of the Human Rights Commission, which stressed the importance of select committees to uphold democratic principles of transparency, participation and accountability.
"Despite this government's actions there is no need to strip New Zealand workers of their rights under urgency and we believe the Governor General has good reason to send this legislation back for a proper hearing."
The EPMU led the successful union campaign to stop the fire at will law when National first tried to introduce it as a private member's bill in 2006.