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Unfair employment changes will drive up industrial disputes

26 April 2013

Unfair employment changes will drive up industrial disputes

The Public Service Association warns that the changes to employment legislation will lead to more industrial disputes and runs counter to the purpose of the Employment Relations Act in promoting collective bargaining.

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill has been introduced into parliament today.

As the country’s largest union, the PSA negotiates hundreds of collective agreements across the public and state sectors. It says the Bill is a direct attack on the rights of workers to collectively bargain and as a result will drive down wages and conditions.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says an earlier cabinet paper on the legislation suggests that it could be used by the government to bring down wages and influence negotiations as part of its drive to reduce public sector spending.

“We should be promoting sound collective bargaining practices which the International Labour Organisation says allows both sides to negotiate fair employment relationships, promotes better wages and prevents costly labour disputes.”

“Instead this legislation waters down collective bargaining and tips the balance in favour of employers,” he says.

“Debate and disagreement during collective agreement negotiations is healthy and results in both sides compromising and finding a workable solution. The government is handing more power to employers to simply stop talking and walk away from the table.”

“All it will do is promote the likelihood of industrial action as workers try and fight for their collective agreement and rights. The end result will be more disputes and a more litigious employment relations environment.”

The PSA will be campaigning against the changes and pushing for employment laws which deliver fair results to working people and their families, rather than those which drive down wages and conditions.


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