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Government determined to keep wages down

Government determined to keep wages down

Despite widespread opposition from working Kiwis, National is pushing ahead with its unnecessary and unfair Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

“This is a radical bill, and its long-term effects will be to cut the pay of every working New Zealander,” says Rachel Mackintosh, EPMU director of organising.

“Passing this law now is a cynical attempt to ensure that as the economy improves, profits go to those at the top instead of the workers who create them.”

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill had its second reading last night in Parliament.

“If the Government really wanted to improve the lives of Kiwi workers and their families, they would prioritise the health and safety legislation which will make people safe at work.

“Kiwis want to be treated fairly at work. Despite the Minister of Labour saying he wants to increase ‘fairness and flexibility’ in employment relations, this Bill only provides power to bad employers and a raw deal for workers.”

Thousands of workers attended rallies in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch last year to oppose the Bill.

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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