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Māori Party condemns Employment Relations Bill

MEDIA STATEMENT
Hon Tariana Turia and Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Maori Party Co-Leaders

18 June 2013

Māori Party condemns Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill

The Māori Party has today condemned the Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill.

“Our party has always spoken out in support of the right to be treated fairly and with dignity; and to enjoy the stability of a safe and healthy work environment – these are fundamental rights for all workers in this country. We promote the value of a living wage so that workers and their whānau can afford the basic necessities of life,” said Tariana Turia, Maori Party Co-leader.

“Yet in just over a fortnight, the National Government has introduced two bills which threaten those fundamentals – the Employment Relations Amendment Bill and now the latest the Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill, introduced by MP Jami-Lee Ross. This bill will overturn Section 97, to condone the use of casual labour to replace fulltime workers during a strike,” said Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader.

“We are utterly opposed to both bills as they reduce worker rights; endanger job security and decimate the good faith provisions of workplace bargaining,” said Dr Sharples.

“It is just over a century since the most disruptive strike in New Zealand history – the 1913 war on the wharves in which ‘special constables’ armed with wooden batons, firearms and horsewhips were recruited to force the unions into arbitration; and just over sixty years since the 1951 waterfront strike in which the government used drastic emergency regulations to seize power over the unions, including using the armed forces to replace strikers.”

“We cannot neglect our history. A decent job, living wages and fair terms and conditions for workers are absolutely essential to our future, and we will not let this law go past lightly.”

“We also heed the call from the CTU Rūnanga, about the dire consequences for Māori workers if this legislation was to proceed.”

“Here is an opportunity to ensure that this latest bill does not become law. The constituents of Ikaroa Rāwhiti can elect long-time union advocate, Na Rongowhakaata Raihania, to be their representative, and the Māori Party will therefore have the four votes necessary to overturn this latest breach of worker rights,” ended Mrs Turia.

ENDS

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