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Damage Done By Employment Contracts Act

Damage Done By Employment Contracts Act

CTU President, Ross Wilson, says a new report released this month provides stark proof of the damage done by the Employment Contracts Act and the failed economic experiment of the 1980s and 1990s.

Speaking to 400 members of the country’s largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, at the start of their Annual Meeting in Wellington, he said the report made disturbing reading.

The study by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards analysed how workers had fared in 16 OECD countries between 1980 and 2001.

It reveals that New Zealand workers suffered a 6.5% fall in their real hourly earning during the 20 years from 1980 to 2001. That was the worst performance of the 16 countries in the study.

In fact New Zealand was the only country in the study where workers real hourly earnings fell.

Workers in every other country had an increase with the Japanese workers real hourly earnings rising 64%, UK workers earnings went up 46.9%, Canadian 39.5%, and Australian 28.8%.

The study entitled “An Index of Labour Market Well-being for OECD countries” analysed official OECD data to produce an index of Labour Market Well-being. The index measures income returns, equality, and uncertainties due to job loss, injury and inadequate retirement income.

It shows how badly New Zealand workers were hammered in the 1980s and 90s.

From 1980 to 2001 New Zealand had the lowest increase in its Labour Market Well Being Index of the 16 countries studied. In 2001 New Zealand had the lowest level of Labour Market Well-Being of the 16 countries studied.

“This is no real surprise to New Zealand workers who worked through the Employment Contracts Act era,” Ross Wilson told the NZEI members. MORE TO COME 2

The repeal of the Employment Contracts Act has been a significant step towards addressing these disturbing findings.

But Ross Wilson told the NZEI members that its replacement, the Employment Relations Act, needs strengthening if we are to truly leave the ECA era behind us.

He told them good faith provisions in the ERA have failed to stop employers Actively inducing workers not to join unions by promising them the benefits of union deals regardless of whether they join the union Going through the motions of bargaining without any intention of agreeing to a collective agreement Deliberately undermining collective bargaining when the clear objective of the Act is to promote collective bargaining. “And we won’t have truly left the ECA workplace behind until we have protections for vulnerable workers on the sale or transfer of a business, or the contracting out of work”

“I can see no reason at all why cleaning and catering companies, employing mainly Pacific women, should be allowed to repeatedly tender by ratcheting down the wages of already poorly paid workers.”

Ross Wilson said that the Government has accepted the need to amend the ERA so that it achieves what it was intended to do, which is promote union-based collective bargaining. He hoped the amendments would also protect workers when their jobs were sold or contracted out “We hope those amendments will be introduced into Parliament sometime in October.”

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