Proposed employment law changes bad news for health services
Proposed employment law changes bad news for health services; incentivises adversarial behaviour
“The Employment Relations Amendment Bill currently before Parliament risks taking the country back to the adversarial industrial climate of the 1990s and having a negative impact on the way the health system functions,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was referring to the front page article in the recent issue of the Association’s quarterly publication The Specialist.
“The Bill’s proposal to remove current
obligations for employers and unions to conclude
negotiations for a collective employment agreement threatens
the ability to negotiate or maintain fair and reasonable
employment conditions at a time when health services are
already struggling to recruit and retain staff.”
“The Bill would allow employers, such as district health boards, to opt out of multi-employer agreements leading to a more fragmented health system and impeding the ability of health service staff to work together in ‘joined up’ services across New Zealand. The senior doctors’ multi-employer collective agreement has been an important stabilising factor in our highly vulnerable specialist workforce.”
“The ability of district health boards to recruit health staff, including the large number of medical specialists recruited from overseas, without whom our public hospitals would cease to function, is threatened by the Bill’s proposal to remove protections to employment conditions for new appointees.”
“This Bill incentivises bad behaviour by bad and less competent employers. It is an extremely short-sighted provision for a nation that is seeking to establish a skilled and stable labour force and is particularly short-sighted for the public health service,” concluded Mr Powell.
A detailed commentary on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is included in the latest edition of the Association’s publication The Specialist, available at www.asms.org.nz.