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National’s Employment Changes Mean a Low Wage Future For NZ

June 5, 2013
Media Release

National’s Employment Changes Mean a Low Wage Future For New Zealand

National’s plans to reduce Kiwis’ rights at work will mean a low wage future for New Zealand, the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is warning.

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament this evening with support from National, ACT and United Future.

EPMU director of organising Rachel Mackintosh says the effect of the changes will be to reduce New Zealanders’ pay and conditions.

“These are radical changes that will make it harder for Kiwis to get a better deal at work. We know from the last time National did this that the result will be lower wages, worse conditions and a growing wage gap with Australia.

“The simple fact is these policies have failed working families time and again. At some point this Government needs to realise cutting wages and removing our rights at work is a recipe for economic failure and growing inequality.

“Kiwis deserve better than National’s promise of low wages and endless job insecurity. We will campaign to stop these changes and build support for fairer employment laws that provide every worker with a safe workplace, a living wage and a real say at work.”

The changes in the Bill will allow employers to:
• Refuse to negotiate a collective agreement with their employees
• Pay new workers less than the rate in the collective agreement
• Opt out of industry agreements in order to undercut their competitors on wages
• Deny workers meal and rest breaks
• Reduce the wages and conditions of vulnerable workers such as cleaners when taking over a new contract.
• Dock the pay of workers taking partial strike action
• Impose more restrictions on the right to strike
• Refuse to provide employees the information they need to challenge an unfair redundancy or dismissal


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