Labour Policy Anti-Workers And Anti-Jobs
7 September 1999
LABOUR POLICY ANTI-WORKERS AND ANTI-JOBS
"Whoever said Labour's policy allowed compulsory union membership through the back door hit the jackpot!" was Steve Marshall's reaction to Labour's policy.
"Scaremongering!" and "Mischievously misrepresenting our policy!" have been regular accusations made by Labour against the Employers' Federation. However, even a cursory read of Labour's just-released policy on employment relations brings alive employers' worst fears.
This is an unbalanced policy.
Union officials must be having difficulty containing their glee. An organisation that attracts fewer than 20% of the eligible working population will be given central status under Labour. And they will have all the ammunition to ensure their prime status is maintained. It's only unions who can negotiate collective contracts. It's only unions who can be parties to a collective contract. It's only union members who can take strike action - ever. It's only union members who can vote for multi-employer agreements. It's only union members whose negotiations are to be conducted in good faith - with the court's being able to impose economic sanctions for alleged breaches on their behalf.
Not only will unions own the collective contract, those contracts would appear to extend that ownership to actual positions. Demarcations - a concept unknown over the last eight and a half years - will be alive and well once again.
"Labour seems to have a completely false view of the make-up of the New Zealand workplace," Steve Marshall said. "Dr Cullen's focus in his press release on the 'the large corporate buyer of labour' and his view that employees at an enterprise can form a new union which has to be a 'corporate entity' simply ignores the 92.4% of enterprises which employ fewer than ten people."
The winners in this policy are certainly not employers, employees or job seekers. New Zealanders should expect a major resurgence of union power if Labour were to become government." Mr Marshall said.