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Govt must make fire at will bill public - EPMU

December 10, 2008

Media Release

Government must make fire at will bill public - EPMU

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is calling on the National/Act Government to make the fire at will bill public immediately so that the public can have a proper democratic debate.

The union understands the bill could be rammed through under urgency as early as tomorrow and is concerned about the Government's refusal to allow New Zealanders time to discuss the bill and have their say through a select committee process.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says National's attempts to stifle debate on the issue are a betrayal of New Zealand workers.

"This law gives employers the right to take away a worker's economic livelihood with no right to challenge it if it's done unfairly or wrongly. As we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this is a massive erosion of a basic human right and it's being rammed through without any discussion or debate.

"If the law is to take effect on April 1 next year there is no urgency and there is certainly time for some proper public scrutiny.

"As of this morning the Government couldn't even provide us with the official name of the bill, let alone the substance, but they're planning to have it in law by the end of the week. That's a disgraceful lack of transparency and democracy.

"Vague assurances about protections on good faith and natural justice are meaningless in a law that says you can be sacked and can't legally challenge it. We're calling on the government to make the legislation public and let the people have their say."

The EPMU led the successful union campaign to stop the fire at will policy when National first tried to introduce it as a private member's bill in 2006.


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