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Workers And Unions Should Be Wary of New Govt

19 October 2005

Workers And Unions Should Be Wary of New govt

The new government is bad news for unions and bad news for New Zealand workers, Green Party Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sue Bradford told the CTU Biennial Conference in Wellington this morning.

"While New Zealand First presents a mixed picture in its approach to worker issues it has mostly voted against the ERA, reforms to ACC and most other related legislation.," Ms Bradford said.

"United Future has been even worse ... over the last couple of weeks they've clearly been playing both sides off against the middle, joining with Brash, ACT and the Maori Party to invite NZ First to join National, then jumping the fence to join Labour when the price got right. Mr Dunne clearly does not understand or practise good faith bargaining."

However, the Green Party would do its best to address the imbalance by using its six MPs to give the strongest voice possible to those whose interests are not usually so clearly heard in parliament, she said.

"Obviously the Green Party will continue to support Labour on progressive legislation over the next three years. Quit bluntly, without us, there will be none.

"I don't need to remind you that Labour has only been able to pass pro worker, pro union laws over the last six years with our help; they will need our assistance even more in the term of this government.

"The Green Party will most urgently be calling upon Labour to take action on amendments to the ERA correcting the problems around ensuring vulnerable workers like contract cleaners will be covered.

"We will also do our best to make sure that Labour honours that part of its various cooperation agreements with different parties that pledges to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour.

"The Green Party fought hard - and succeeded - in getting the minimum wage rise into our co-operation agreement with Labour, unfortunately we could not secure agreement to get it implemented sooner.

Despite our disappointment with what the election has handed us and the limitations on what will be possible the Greens are committed to engaging with Labour to do the best we can over the next three years. However, we will not hesitate to speak out against any moves which we see as damaging to the interests of children, working people, beneficiaries or other people left behind by the market.

The full speech will be posted on the Green Party website at 10.15am http://www.greens.org.nz

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