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Select Committee urged to drop unfair employment Bill

22 August 2013

Select Committee urged to drop unfair employment Bill

The CTU has presented a case to drop National’s unfair Employment Relations Amendment Bill at the first day of hearings at the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee today, saying the Bill will worsen the pay and working conditions of many workers in New Zealand. It will increase inequality and make it harder for working families to get by.

Helen Kelly, CTU President told the committee “this Bill will weaken collective bargaining and mean that employers can favour individual agreements and refuse to conclude a collective agreement. This Bill will further reduce pay and conditions for New Zealand workers, especially for low paid, vulnerable workers. These changes are unfair on working Kiwis.”

“The response from workers against these laws is overwhelming. People are against this law change and want the government to know. We’ve received over 12,000 form submissions and hundreds of personalised submissions asking to speak to the Committee. Earlier this week 1500 people rallied in Petone to oppose these changes and next week there are rallies in Auckland and Christchurch.”

“I have been travelling around the country talking to workers – they are fuming that the Government is launching this attack on their wages and conditions in these difficult times. The Government’s own papers say that under these changes wages will fall. This is not the kind of New Zealand most of us want," said Helen Kelly.

“This law will also mean that some of our most vulnerable workers - caretakers and cleaners, catering workers, hospital orderlies and laundry workers, who work for small businesses will no longer have the stability and protection of being able to maintain their current wages and conditions if their contract is transferred to another company. Workers end up paying when rogue companies come in and underbid good employers who offer reasonable wages and conditions.”

“The Bill even removes guaranteed meal and refreshment breaks”.

“We are campaigning against these changes, and pushing for fair employment laws that encourage collective bargaining as the way to higher wages in productive and safe workplaces, not changes that undermine bargaining and make it even harder for workers to get ahead,” concluded Helen Kelly.

Helen Kelly, CTU President, Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, and Jeff Sissons, CTU General Counsel, presented on behalf of the CTU.

ENDS

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