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Fairness at Work Rallies on 21st August

Fairness at Work Rallies on 21st August

The Council of Trade Unions has announced that it will be holding Fairness at Work rallies on 21st August in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

CTU President Helen Kelly said: “These are just the start of what we expect to be a long campaign to promote Fairness at Work in the face of a Government which is tilting the balance in favour of employers – particularly bad employers.”

Helen Kelly said that unions are not opposed to trial periods, and believe employers should have the right to dismiss workers fairly. But every wage and salary earner should have the right to appeal against unfair dismissal. For instance, if a worker raises a question after 6 weeks in a new job about a health and safety concern and then gets dismissed, shouldn’t that worker have the right to appeal against that dismissal?

It is also vitally important that wage and salary earners have access to union advice and support in the workplace.

Helen Kelly said that it is entirely voluntary to join a union and 380,000 workers have chosen to do so. But the Government now wants to restrict access for members to talk to their union representative and to make it difficult for workers to discuss joining the union.

As for sick leave, under current law, the employer can ask for proof of illness within three calendar days – including for one day’s absence - if they have reasonable grounds to suspect the sick leave is not genuine. They need to inform the employee as soon as possible, and they must agree to meet the employee's reasonable expenses in getting this proof. Why is there any need to change this?

In addition to rallies in several cities, unions will be holding meetings in regional centres. Today Helen Kelly is in Tauranga meeting with local union officials and delegates to discuss the campaign and Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, is in Palmerston North.

Helen Kelly said she expects legislation to be introduced to Parliament in 4-6 weeks and for a vigorous debate to occur through the Select Committee for the rest of the year. We will be building the momentum on the Fairness at Work campaign throughout this period.


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