CTU MEDIA RELEASE
09 December 2008
Unions shocked at sudden removal of dismissal appeal rights
Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said today that she hopes the reports* that the National Government plans to push through major changes to employment law under urgency in the next two weeks are wrong.
“The Government had previously said that such a change was not part of their 100 day plan and it would be a huge breach of good faith to now rush through the change with no ability for workers and unions to put forward arguments and options at a Select Committee,” Helen Kelly said.
The removal of the right to appeal against unfair dismissal during the first 90 days of employment in small businesses would affect workers in 97 percent of enterprises. The CTU estimates about 108,000 workers are in their first 90 days of employment in such workplaces at any one time.
“Over 700,000 New Zealanders start a new job each year and many of those are in small firms. Every worker can be affected at some time in their working lives. To remove this right of appeal means that a worker can be dismissed for whatever reason, no matter how unfair, and have no right of appeal.”
“The CTU does not oppose employers having the right to dismiss workers for poor performance. There is already the right to have a trial period for new employees. But they can presently still appeal if they are unfairly dismissed. Removing that right is a major change to worker rights.”
“This measure will not help the economy. At a time when the Government is saying it will give some help to workers who lose jobs it is also rushing through changes that make workers even less secure about their jobs,” Helen Kelly said.