The newly formed Tertiary Education Union (TEU) is calling for the government to take a breath and reassess its priorities before urgently rushing through its proposed amendment to the Employment Relations Act. The amendment would deny employees who work in small to medium businesses protection against unfair dismissal within their first 90 days of employment.
The first hundred days of a new government are meant to signal innovative changes that shape the rest of its term,” said one of the TEUâ€™s transitional national secretaries, Nanette Cormack. “And yet, from this National-led government today we apparently find that one of the biggest, most urgent matters it wants to deal with is to give small employers the absolute right to indiscriminately fire workers. It seems that this needs to be dealt with more urgently than the international financial crises, or before other environmental and social problems.”
“The question workers will be asking is â€˜What is the rush?â€™” stated the TEUâ€™s other transitional national secretary, Sharn Riggs. “Why has the 90 day probation bill been put into urgency just before Christmas.”
“National knows that hundreds of thousands of workers and their unions opposed its last 90 day bill,” said Ms Riggs. “And those workers campaigned with other New Zealanders to win political support from the Māori Party to defeat the bill. It appears this time the National-led government does not want to take the chance of allowing the public to have their say. Hopefully the Māori Party will continue to oppose this ill conceived bill.”