7 April 2017
Union calls for action on OECD redundancy report
FIRST Union is condemning Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse for refusing to act on an OECD report showing New Zealanders who are made redundant tend to suffer a drop in wages and job security.
FIRST Union represented distribution centre workers in the recent redundancies at former children’s retailer Pumpkin Patch.
“The OECD’s findings constitute an urgent call to action, but here’s our Workplace Relations Minister shrugging his shoulders and saying we have the balance right,” said FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.
“We laugh about how the US is the only developed country without a public health care system, but New Zealand risks becoming a laughing stock as one of the few developed countries without comprehensive redundancy support.”
“People who are put out of work aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet. They’re mothers and fathers with families to support, they’re grandparents with bills to pay and they’re students with loans to pay off. But our laws leave them without protection if the boss puts them out of work.”
“Our employment laws are out of balance. In the major restructures we’ve been involved in, like the restructure at Cavalier Bremworth last year, we worked with the company to appoint a redundancy support person, someone who can put people in touch with other employers, who can help out with WINZ and even lend a hand on things like CV writing.”
“But it shouldn’t be up to goodwill of unions and some employers. The law should provide support services like this as of right. Even if the person’s employer is bankrupt what’s stopping our Government from following Australia’s lead and implementing something like the fair entitlement guarantees scheme? No one should be put out of work wondering how they’re going make ends meet. Everyone needs basic security,” said Reid.