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Employers issue ultimatum over time for law reform

Employers issue ultimatum over time for law reform

Employers are saying they don't accept the short timeframe being allowed for lodging of submissions on the Employment Relations Reform Bill.

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says regardless of Labour Minister Margaret Wilson's decree that submissions have to be with the Select Committee by February 27th, the EMA will take until March 26th to consult members and prepare a reasoned position on the complex Bill.

"Minister Wilson knows very well her February 27th deadline for submissions does not allow a sensible time frame to consult employers and respond with a useful commentary on her new law," said Peter Tritt, EMA's Manager of Advisory Services.

"The time frame shows a lack of good faith. It's an old ploy that's no longer acceptable.

"We need all February to consult with our members on the legal intricacies of this Bill then prepare a considered response to it.

"Since Government didn't bother to consult employers over the final content of the Bill, not being heard by the official Select Committee won't make much difference.

"EMA is giving the government an ultimatum. Either extend the submissions closing date to 26 March 2004, or we will make our submission on that date to an alternative committee of invited Members of Parliament.

"We aren't prepared to be pushed around by bureaucrats and politicians over important matters like this Bill.

"We're tired of government arrogance in pushing through major legislation like this over the summer holiday season.

"Many other Bills of much less significance have had longer periods allowed to make submissions and they didn't include the main holiday season.

"At our own hearing at least employers would be accorded much more time than the derisory 30 minutes that Parliament's Transport and Industrial Select Committee typically gives an organisation like ours which represents 7,500 employers employing 270,000 staff.

"If Minister Wilson won't want change the date our EMA submission won't be ready in any case until 26 March, and after that we will invite MPs from the Select Committee of all parties to a hearing in Auckland to hear our submissions and those of our members.

"We'll invite them to hear what business has to say about this union promotion law."

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