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National’s Employment Changes Will Cut Kiwis’ Pay

April 26, 2013
Media Release

National’s Employment Changes Will Cut Kiwis’ Pay

National’s proposed changes to the Employment Relations Act will cut the pay of every working New Zealander, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The changes allow employers to refuse to settle a collective agreement, opt out of industry agreements in order to undercut their competitors on wages, pay new workers less than the rate in the collective agreement and deny workers meal and rest breaks.

The Bill also removes the protections that guarantee some vulnerable workers their wages and conditions if a new employer takes over their contract.

EPMU national secretary Bill Newson says the changes are a radical attack on the right of Kiwi workers to negotiate for better wages and conditions.

“This is a charter for bad employers and its effect will be to lower the wages of all New Zealanders.

“National is trying its best to paint these changes as technical but workers won’t be fooled. This is a return to the failed Employment Contracts Act of the 1990s that led to an unprecedented drop in Kiwis’ wages and created the wage gap with Australia.

“These changes are a sign of National’s failure to create jobs, lift wages and grow the economy. On every count this Government has failed and now it is making working families pay the price.

“New Zealand’s union movement stands for fair employment laws that give all workers a living wage, safer workplaces and a say over their working conditions. These changes take New Zealand in exactly the wrong direction and our union will campaign to stop them.”


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