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PM should bin strike-breaking bill

June 13, 2013

PM should bin strike-breaking bill

National MP Jami-Lee Ross’ bill to legalise strike-breaking should not proceed any further given the Prime Minister’s assurances he will not support it, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The bill would allow employers to hire strike-breaking labour during industrial disputes, effectively rendering strike action ineffective for low income workers.

“John Key has assured the New Zealand public that this legislation will not go ahead and we expect him to stick to his word,” says EPMU national secretary Bill Newson.

“This is extreme legislation that would only empower bad employers and entrench low wages.

“The reality is low paid workers have little negotiating power beyond the ability to withdraw their labour. In a time of high unemployment any workers who tried to better their conditions would find themselves down the road with someone else doing their job.

“That’s not fair and it doesn’t help lift wages. John Key should stick to his word and bin this extreme legislation.”

The strike-breaking bill comes on top of other amendments to the Employment Relations Act that would 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

John Key’s comments on the strike-breaking legislation are here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8719252/Today-in-politics-Monday-May-27-2013

ENDS

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