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We don’t get fooled again

Media release: FIRST Union
Friday April 26, 2013

We don’t get fooled again

New Zealand workers will not be fooled again by the proposed changes to employment law outlined by National today, FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid said.

“Minister of Labour Simon Bridges says that these law changes will bring more flexibility to the labour market and benefit employer and employee alike,” Robert Reid said.

“We know from the bitter experience of the 1990s that claims from the National Party that flexibility brings rewards for workers is simply not true.”

“In 1990, Bill Birch, the same man that deregulated the health and safety laws, told workers that a deregulated labour market would bring higher wages as workers would be able to negotiate their own individual conditions and not be constrained by union agreements. Simon Bridges is peddling the same erroneous massages now.”

“After the Employment Contracts Act (ECA), workers in the 1990s lost overtime rates, allowances and other conditions. Employers who could afford to pay more, did not.

“Hundreds of thousands of workers saw their pay packets cut. In the supermarket sector, under the ECA real wages fell by 11.2% for fulltime workers, 30.1% for part time adults and 44.4% for part-time students.

“There is no reason for these changes other than to depress wages in an already low wage economy. A government that was genuinely interested in closing the Australian wage gap simply wouldn’t put even more barriers in the way of workers accessing unions to bargain collectively with their workmates, as National wants to do.”

“This time workers will see through the rhetoric and see these employment law changes for what they really are.”

“We can thank Peter Towsend and the Who for putting it so succinctly:

Meet the new boss.
Same as the old boss
We don’t get fooled again!


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