Govt’s deep union links fail to halt strike chaos
Workplace Relations and Safety
24 October 2018
Commuters in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington disrupted this week by striking bus drivers have received no help from this Government despite its deep ties to the trade union movement, Workplace Relations and Safety spokesman Scott Simpson says.
“Commuters are just the latest group of New Zealanders to face disruptions in what is already the worst year for strikes in about three decades. Families with school-age kids and people using health and justice services have also been forced to cope with strikes.
“They should tell the Government: ‘Thanks for nothing’ for taxing petrol to record highs, forcing more people onto public transport only to find the buses don’t show up. It will only get worse with the Unite Union boasting about plans for ‘a big round of strikes in 2019’.
“This is a Government stacked with former trade union officials and career bureaucrats
but it has been unable or perhaps unwilling to use its influence to limit the impact of strikes on New Zealanders.
“Instead it has played cheerleader for a return to 1970s-style militancy with legislation that empowers its union mates and shackles workplaces to less flexible employment rules.
“The Government is hyping expectations for wage rises even though it is New Zealand’s biggest employer and is entrusted with taxpayers’ money. That’s economically reckless and self-defeating. A better strategy would be to tax and spend less and help control living costs.
“Business groups were ignored in the development of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, which National opposes. Businesses large and small will bear the brunt if the Bill passes as is, with pay rises decided elsewhere and union officials able to barge into workplaces unannounced.
“National, supports higher wages but the way to increase them is by building a strong economy allowing businesses to grow, create jobs and pay more. Ordinary Kiwis and businesses trying to get ahead will have little patience for a return to strong-arm union tactics.”