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Union representing low paid slams 90 day bill

Union representing low paid workers slams 90 day bill

The union representing low-paid workers is calling on the Maori Party to urge its new partner to abandon plans to push through the 90-day "fire at will" policy under urgency.

The National Government plans to reintroduce its 90-day Bill, which was defeated in 2006 on the basis of evidence to the Select Committee that it would be harmful for low-paid workers, including Maori workers.

The Maori Party opposed the Bill at the time as it would make workers vulnerable to exploitation in small businesses, which make up the majority of businesses in New Zealand.

The Service and Food Workers Union Northern Regional Secretary Jill Ovens says the Bill is about taking away the rights of new workers to a fair process and would have a chilling effect.

"It means that anyone starting in a new job in most New Zealand businesses can be fired with no good reason. For three months, workers in a new job will live with the fear they could be down the road at any time."

Ms Ovens says this is a disastrous move against working people at a time of economic recession when jobs will be hard to come by.

"Those already in jobs won't notice any change until they get laid off and find out that even if they are lucky enough to land a new job, they will have to live with uncertainty for the next three months. They will have no choice but to accept whatever conditions they are working under because they will be too scared to object.

"It's disgusting that National would move on workers at a time when businesses are talking openly of cutting back on staff in 2009."

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The SFWU says pushing controversial legislation under urgency denies workers the opportunity to have a say through democratic Select Committee processes.

"It is disgraceful that National is so intent on pushing this Bill through that they are willing to undermine the democratic process to do so. Whatever happened to peace and goodwill at Christmas? For all their protestations about being a kind face, they are starting to show their true colours."


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