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"Fire at will" law shows Nats true face says union

"Fire at will" law shows Nats true face says union

The Service and Food Workers Union is condemning Government plans to extend the controversial Fire at Will law to all workers in New Zealand, and to slash and burn union access rights.

SFWU Assistant National Secretary Neville Donaldson says these changes show the true face of the National Party and are a direct attack on thousands of working men and women.

"The majority of our Union's 23,000 members are women, whose work is already undervalued and underpaid. This proposal will only lead to further casualisation of employment and discrimination against those workers, particularly Pacific Island women, working in industries such as cleaning, service and hospitality."

Neville Donaldson says civilized nations rely on unions to protect working men and women from the in-built power imbalance between the employer and the worker, and respect the right to challenge unfair practices.

"Unions are a democratic voice for workers when they are treated unfairly. Unions are the only organisation focused on this role and it is a basic right to be treated with dignity and respect in employment."

This law change removes this basic right and recognition of the need for fair employment practices.

"Employers are going to ask prospective staff to give up long term job security when seeking to gain skills, but under the new law, a new worker could be sacked within 90 days and end up with no job and no right to challenge this."

"This law change is effectively a single finger salute to all new Zealand workers and a clear statement of the lack of value this government has for workers.", says Neville Donaldson.

The SFWU is also challenging the Minister of Labour to name those employers who are actually calling for this law change.

"Our union deals with some pretty rough and tough bosses but not one has told us they support this proposal or want it introduced," says Neville Donaldson.

"We fail to see how this law change will provide additional employment opportunities other than to fill vacancies created by the sacking of a current employee."

"We challenge Business NZ and Phil O'Reilly to provide evidence that the introduction of the original Fire at Will law created any real job growth."

Neville Donaldson says moves to restrict union access are also unnecessary.

"The present law is modest and reasonable. It delivers fairness at work, and ensures transparency accountability and compliance with all site security and Health and Safety requirements"

"While good employers understand the value and importance of having unions on site, and the right to visit members bad employers use access arguments to keep unions out and workers subservient."

"Our experience from the 1990s shows us that when the law was changed to restrict Union access, bad employers were quick to use the law to intimidate and bully staff."


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