Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Employment Law Changes will Reduce Pay and Conditions

30 October 2012

Employment Law Changes will Reduce Pay and Conditions

The CTU strongly condemns further proposed changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 announced today.

Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, says that “These changes are designed to reduce the wages and conditions of workers in New Zealand.”

The ability to negotiate collective agreements is reduced by making it easier for employers to walk away from negotiations and harder for workers to take industrial action. The Government also wants to remove protections for new employees (who can now be offered worse terms and conditions than the collective agreement) and some catering and cleaning staff who will be offered a choice between worse terms and conditions and losing their jobs where their employment is contracted out.”

Peter Conway says “The Government has not yet produced a Bill but has been making a series of announcements. We have previously seen details of plans to allow employers to opt out of Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (‘MECA’) bargaining and to restrict legitimate industrial action.”

The Minister of Labour has outlined a number of changes today including changes to what is known as Part 6a of the Act which deals with protection of vulnerable workers in a transfer situation. Today’s announcement also confirms the Government intention to introduce a Bill with other significant alterations to employment law.

Peter Conway says: “The dilution or removal of the duty to conclude a collective agreement undermines the purpose of the Employment Relations Act 2000 “to build productive employment relationships [among other things] by promoting collective bargaining” (section 3(a)(ii)). The Department of Labour has criticised this proposal in strong terms in their Regulatory Impact Statement (at paras 53 and 54) where they stated ‘this proposal may encourage poor bargaining behaviour (such as surface bargaining)… when one party has no intention of concluding an agreement and does no more than going through the motions to avoid a breach of good faith complaint. Parties may abandon attempts to reach an agreement, where it may have been possible to do so under the current framework. This change will have a signalling effect that employers can walk away easily… This may cause disputes around when bargaining has ended. This may cause deterioration of the employment relationship and see an increase in staff turnover, particularly where there is a strong union presence and commitment to collective bargaining. There is also a risk that fewer collective agreements will be concluded.’

Peter Conway said that currently employers are required to offer new employees the same terms as the collective agreement that covers their work for the first 30 days of their employment. The Government proposes to remove this requirement. In her first cabinet paper, Minister Wilkinson notes that removing this requirement “will enable employers to offer individual terms and conditions [to the new employee] that are less than those in the collective agreement.”

In contracting out situations, the current law providers strong protection for workers that are particularly vulnerable to exploitation those in cleaning and food services plus some caretaking, orderly and laundry services. Under Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act, if these services are contracted out the workers can choose to transfer to the new employer with the same terms and conditions of employment. The protections in part 6A were introduced in 2004 following a review in 2001 that found certain employers were forcing vulnerable workers to either accept worse terms and conditions when they took over a business or lose their jobs. 65% of these vulnerable workers are women and Maori and Pasifika are over-represented. Many earn close to the minimum wage.

It is proposed that incoming employers with less than 20 employees (Small to Medium Enterprises or SMEs) should be exempt from all of the Part 6A requirements. According to the Ministry of Economic Development, 31% of all employees are currently employed by SMEs. SMEs will have a significant incentive to undercut other tenderers by cutting employees terms and conditions. The CTU believes that this is a ‘race to the bottom’ that mistreats some of our most vulnerable workers.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

2040 Target And Lower Standards: “Swimmable” Rivers Five Times More Likely To Make You Sick

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river.

“Despite an explicit assurance from Minister Smith that the new water standards would provide for human and ecosystem health, he has failed to deliver on either of these things,” says Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Immigration: Clampdown On Rogue Employers Good First Step

The Human Trafficking Research Coalition is pleased at the new clampdown on rouge employers who exploit migrants announced by Minister Woodhouse this morning, and believes this is a step in the right direction. More>>

ALSO:

Mayor: 750 New Social And Affordable Homes For Wellington (Over A Decade)

The next stage of Wellington’s Housing Upgrade Programme will see at least 750 new units of social and affordable housing built over the next decade, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

22/2: Christchurch Quake Memorial Unveiled

A city, a region, a nation and an international community impacted by the Canterbury Earthquakes will come together to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake and dedicate Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. More>>

ALSO:


November Quakes:

Gordon Campbell: On The Mana-Maori Party Deal

If the self-interest involved wasn’t so blatant, the electorate deal between the Maori Party and Hone Harawira would be kind of poignant. It’s a bit like seeing the remaining members of Guns’n’Roses or the Eagles back on the road touring the nostalgia circuit… playing all the old hits of Maori unity and kaupapa Maori politics. More>>

ALSO:

Private Provision: First Social Bond To Focus On Mental Health

New Zealand’s first social bond will help around 1700 people with mental illness into work, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Social Investment Minister Amy Adams say. More>>

ALSO:

Immigration: Short Reprieve For Nine Indian Students

A temporary hold on deportations of nine Indian students is a step in the right direction but the Government urgently needs to implement safeguards to stop further injustices to more international students, the Green Party says. More>>

EARLIER:


Megaupload Case: High Court Rules Dotcom, Co-Accused Eligible For Extradion

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his three co-accused are eligible for extradition to the United States, New Zealand's High Court ruled... Justice Murray Gilbert upheld a decision by the District Court that there were grounds for Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato to be extradited. More>>

ALSO:

PREVIOUSLY:

Port Hills Fire: Midday Update, Monday 20 February

• 9 homes destroyed
• 2 homes with partial damage. Damage includes things like cracked windows, heat damage.
• 3 properties with damage to other external structures e.g sheds or outbuildings More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news