Little change to controversial employment law shows blatant disregard for working NZers

The Public Service Association says the government continues to show blatant disregard for working New Zealanders by failing to make any meaningful change to unfair employment law. In its report back on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, the government majority on the select committee has recommended virtually no change, ignoring the voice of thousands of workers who made submissions opposing the legislation. Almost 8000 PSA members made submissions on the bill, and while 220 asked to speak directly to the committee, only 50 were given the opportunity.

“This legislation is a clear attack on workers’ rights. It will drive down wages and give employers more power in collective bargaining by making it easy for them to walk away from negotiations and conclude the process,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff. “Collective bargaining is the key mechanism to delivering better wages and conditions and should be a fair process where both sides negotiate in good faith. We believe the legislation runs counter to international labour conventions.”

The legislation also allows employers to deduct wages for partial strikes. “All that will do is encourage full-scale industrial action as workers try and fight for their collective agreement and rights. This legislation effectively removes the option for workers to take low-level and low-impact action which is an important way of resolving issues before they escalate into full blown disputes.” “The failure to listen to the real concerns and unfairness of this legislation is yet another appalling show of arrogance by this government towards working New Zealanders,” Mr Wagstaff says.