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Expect Reaction to Nat Plans for ECA and Holidays

Expect Reaction to National’s Plans for ECA and Holidays Act

The Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, in a speech to the Employers Federation conference today has told New Zealanders to “expect action on the Holidays Act, a probationary period for new employees and modifications to personal grievances”, if National are re-elected to Government at the next election.

“Expect a reaction from workers and unions to any action of this kind”, Trade Union Federation Secretary, Michael Gilchrist, said today.

“And it will be at least an equal and opposite reaction.

“We’ve fought this battle once and won it in late 1997 and early 1998. 18,000 workers wrote to Parliament to protest the proposed changes. Tens of thousands attended combined rallies around the country. This included union and non union members.

“The final proposal of the coalition Government clarified the law on holidays and trial periods for new hires and would have benefited both employers and employees. But National chose not to make it law. Now they want to start this extremely costly and confrontational process all over again.

“This is typical of their approach to industrial relations. It has nothing to do with permission. It is all about state sponsored oppression.

“If we have to fight this same battle for paid leave and fair treatment a second time then be sure that we will do so with re-doubled vigour.

Mr Gilchrist said that claims for the success of the Employment Contracts Act are not supported by the fatcs.

“75% of the jobs created in the last year were in part time work. Productivity growth under the ECA is lower than it was under any previous regime. That’s the accepted fact - opinions differ as to the exact explanation.

“But in Australia, where productivity growth has been uniformly higher over the last 8 years, particularly amongst strongly unionised groups of workers, the most conservative economists are warning that ECA style reforms are likely to do more harm than good.

“Our view is clearly that people work best when they work together. The ECA, on the other hand, represents a divide and conquer approach to workers. That approach is rapidly becoming intolerable,” Mr Gilchrist concluded.


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