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Employment law changes are regressive move for all

Employment law changes are regressive move for all

The passing of the Employment Relations Act and Holidays Act Amendment Bills in Parliament yesterday is a huge step backwards and flies in the face of the requirement for the state sector to be a good employer, says the New Zealand Public Services Association (NZPSA).

“Unions will simply strengthen their campaign to overturn these amendments. Not only are they bad for workers, they’re bad for business, NZPSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said.

“New Zealand needs employment laws that respect employees as well as employers and enable both to gain the most from each other in terms of employees reaching their potential and employers gaining in productivity.

“We’re alarmed to hear that the State Services Commission has been directing employers to enforce these amendments. So while private employers can chose to ignore National’s draconian 90 day trial for all new employees or the right to demand a medical certificate for just one day’s sick leave, government employers will have no choice.

“The State Sector Act requires state employers to be good employers but it appears the government doesn’t want state employers to be anything more than a minimum code employer.

“Combined with what we know from a recent SSC survey – that nearly half of all new state services employees are on temporary contracts, wage movement is dragging behind the private sector and gender and ethnicity pay gaps are shamefully high - who would come and work for the state when on top of all this you’re assured of a 90-day trial and hounded for doctor’s certificates if you take a day’s sick leave?

“These are truly regressive changes that do nothing to further our competitiveness on the world stage or catch up with Australia which the government claims to be committed to.

“These law changes will make it extremely difficult for government employers who recruit expertise from overseas.

“Who in their right mind would pack up their life in one country to come to New Zealand if a 90-day trial was hanging over their head. That’s just too big a risk to take,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“New Zealanders told the government they didn’t support these law changes. 22,000 workers around the country protested against them and 8000 people made submissions. What kind of government is it that doesn’t listen to its electorate? A foolish one, says Richard Wagstaff.


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