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Willie Jackson - Union registration Speech Notes

Speech notes from the Alliance Party

Speech notes for third reading of the Employment Relations (Validation of Union Registration and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Willie Jackson, Alliance MP, 8 November 2001

The aim of this bill is simply to clarify the intent of the Employment Relations Act in regard to Union registration. There is nothing to fear in this bill. The opposition have no reason to be concerned about it unless they are intending to be unfair to workers and their representatives.

Clause Four will validate early applications and registrations of unions, prior to the commencement of the Act on 2 October 2000. This clause is essential to the good faith environment of the Employment Relations Act.

NUPE must have thought they were being extra efficient by sorting out their union registration in time for the new Act to come into force. They registered a day early, on a Friday instead of waiting until the following Monday. They were acting in good faith when they were allowed to register. They thought they were protecting their workers.

We can't unecessarily punish an organisation for being a little too early to act when they believed they were acting in accordance with the law and in the best interests of the people they represent.

I don't imagine many employers would stop workers being allowed to work simply because they turned up to work early. It just wouldn't be heard of.

This bill is a sensible piece of legislation that will assist in sorting out some technical hitches. That is all. The opposition should be all for it considering it would save the employers who have negotiated with unions in this position, some time and money. If we didn't validate the registration of such unions some may have to negotiate their contracts all over again.

We must clear up these technical hitches so that the Employment Relations Authority can get on with its job without being held up on unnecessary issues. The essential nature of their work is too important to force them to waste time with such technicalities especially when they relate to a union simply being a little early for work as it were.

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