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Labour-hire bill could lift thousands out of poverty

FIRST Union media statement: 2 February 2018

Labour-hire bill could lift thousands out of poverty

One of New Zealand’s largest trade unions is welcoming a private member’s bill that could give security to thousands of labour-hire workers.

Labour MP Kieran McAnulty’s Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill was pulled from the ballot on Thursday and will ensure workers in triangular employment can enjoy collective agreement coverage and personal grievance rights.

Triangular employment is where an employer, for example a labour-hire company, contracts the services of their employee to a host company, for example a logistics company.

“We’re very happy this bill was pulled from the ballot and our members are already excited about what its passage might mean for their working lives,” said FIRST Union spokesperson Lisa Meto Fox.

“People stuck in triangular employment often don’t know whether they’re working tomorrow, or next week, or next month. There’s no security. But this bill could go a long way towards ensuring people are guaranteed work under a site’s collective agreement. This could help lift thousands of families out of poverty and insecurity.”

FIRST Union often negotiates “automatic conversion” rights in collective agreements where, after a set period of time, labour-hire workers on a site are converted to employees.

“We’re supporting Kieran McAnulty’s bill to first reading and we’re calling on Parliament to send it to select committee. We’ll be submitting in favour of including the bill as part of the government’s wider employment reform agenda.”

“If this bill passes it’s going to mean companies like The Warehouse are going to have to change their practices,” said Meto Fox.

Last year the Employment Court made a landmark decision finding it is likely that a host company may be deemed the employer instead of the labour-hire company where “the work is for an indefinite duration, is expected to be provided and is expected to be performed by the individual” and “a significant degree of supervision, control and direction is exercised by the host [company]”.

ENDS

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