EPMU warns employment changes will make Kiwis poorer
September 11, 2013
EPMU warns employment changes will make Kiwis poorer, less safe
The Government’s proposed changes to employment law will drive down wages and endanger health and safety, the EPMU has warned a select committee today.
EPMU director of organising Rachel Mackintosh appeared before the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee today in Auckland to present the EPMU’s oral submission on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill.
“If MPs want to see fair, balanced employment relations, this Bill takes us in completely the wrong direction,” Rachel Mackintosh told the committee.
“The Bill reduces workers’ ability to bargain collectively and weakens industry pay agreements, which ensure workers in industries such as manufacturing are paid at a guaranteed minimum rate.
“By allowing employers to offer new workers lower pay and conditions than the collective you will affect more than just union members - you will create a downward push on the going rate for all workers.”
Rachel Mackintosh also warned the committee that the removal of the right to rest and meal breaks could endanger health and safety.
“Fatigue is a pervasive issue in serious harm workplace injuries. Parliament has worked very hard to improve health and safety for workers in New Zealand, but that work is undermined by taking away basic rights like meal and rest breaks.
“This change is a complete contradiction of everything you know about keeping workers safe and healthy,” she said.
The EPMU is urging the Government to drop its changes to the Employment Relations Act and is building a campaign for fair workplace laws that promote good jobs and better pay.
The select committee hearing follows three mass rallies held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch last month which were attended by thousands of workers opposed to the Bill.