Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

When is a worker a contractor versus an employee?

When is a worker a contractor versus an employee?

FIRST Union takes the question to the courts

FIRST Union plans to seek a determination in the Employment Court as to whether courier drivers are employees and therefore covered by employment legislation. The decision to do so follows a two-week long exposure by John Campbell on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint of the appalling wages and conditions that many courier drivers work under. The Union plans to overturn the precedent-setting case of TNT v Cunningham and seek a judgement based on new facts and under a new (Employment Relations Act) law from when an earlier decision was made.

Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing Division Secretary Jared Abbott says it was the views of former Chief Employment Judge Colgan on Checkpoint last week that convinced the Union that testing the issue of the employment status of courier drivers (in the Employment Court) was not only the right thing to do, but could have a good chance of success.

“While the legal process may be lengthy, for the sake of these workers it needs to be done.”

Mr Abbott says the Union has been working on the issue for a number of years, negotiating good terms and conditions with several courier companies, but often companies hide behind a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship despite the drivers being treated as employees.

“Independent contractors, amongst other things, are supposed to be where a person provides a service to multiple companies. But what we are seeing are companies asking courier drivers to be contractors only for them, and to take on responsibility that actually belongs with the company such as insuring the company vehicle and wrapping it with branding, and then paying them net less than the minimum wage for their trouble. We need to stop, and roll back the attempts by some employers to load all employment risks onto their workers.”

He says despite the Union lobbying parliament and making submissions on private members’ bills that could regularise workers (such as courier drivers) as employees, none of the bills made it through parliament.

“It’s very frustrating that when we highlight an issue with the law that is allowing the abuse of the wellbeing of workers, that it’s completely ignored.”

Mr Abbott says in response to the apathy the Union helped establish an owner-driver advocacy service called Pro-Drive that has had some great wins using commercial law, however it has become obvious that the Union needs to challenge the situation through employment law.

“These independent contractors (courier drivers) are in fact employees so we believe we can reach the same successes in case law through employment court.”

He adds a thank you to John Campbell and RNZ for exposing the case and the issues so many courier drivers face.

“The issue is not just one for courier drivers but one for other owner-drivers and independent contractors in many other trades. It is similar to the pernicious labour-hire system that FIRST Union is campaigning against – the latest action being a picket outside a labour hire company in Auckland last week.”

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Crowdsale And Crowdfunding Campaign: Help Create The Future Of Independent News

Two weeks to go! The Scoop 3.0 plan aims to create NZ’s first community-owned, distributed news and media intelligence ecosystem in 2019. We believe this ScoopPro media monetisation approach can be scaled and spread globally to support local and independent news efforts in regional New Zealand and around the world.

Scoop is an ecosystem, it would not exist without those who contribute to it, read it and rely on it for professional media purposes. Generous past support from this ecosystem has enabled us to come this far in developing our business model. Support our PledgeMe Campaign>>

 

14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels