Employment law select committee didn’t listen

Posted By TEU on Dec 12, 2013 |

Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 43

The select committee that parliament charged with considering the government’s proposed new employment laws released its report yesterday. It made very few changes to the original proposals, which if passed will further drive wages down and cut working conditions. Unions responded quickly saying government politicians on the select committee had ignored over 12,000 submissions calling the law changes unfair, and failed to listen to the working people of this country.

 “50 percent of Kiwis saying they are having trouble making ends meet, 46 percent of Kiwis did not even get a pay increase last year and there are recent reports of working families living below the poverty line,” said CTU President Helen Kelly.

“It is unbelievable the Government would continue with these very bad proposals.”

In its report the government majority on the select committee, has recommended virtually no change and instead continues to support the removal of the lunch and tea break, the ability of employers to refuse to conclude a collective agreement in bargaining, and to not offer new workers access to a collective agreement. It has even extended the plans to remove employment security from the country’s cleaning and catering staff further than originally proposed.

“This law breaches international obligations and is unfair on working people in this country,” Helen Kelly said. “While [employment minister Simon] Bridges continues to state the current law favours workers, the reality of the prevalence of low paid, insecure and dangerous work speaks otherwise and for the government to make that situation worse, shows it has no mercy for working people”.

The CTU responded yesterday presenting its own People’s Select Committee Report at parliament. The report includes stories about what workers really think of the Bill, their deep concern about the changes and information about how many submissions were made, how many actually got heard, as well as stories from many people who wanted to speak but never got the chance. Among those workers is TEU member Kevin Broughton, who noted:

“The ‘walk away at will’ provision is contradictory to the good faith provisions of the Act. We have had a relatively long period of industrial peace. This law will change that. New Zealand once prided itself on our international reputation. This law will undermine that.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week

  1. Diary note to casuals – join TEU next year
  2. Negotiations and ratification votes around the country
  3. Encouraging signals on paid parental leave extension
  4. Unitec ‘Train-Wreck’

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