"We don’t want to see a return to a ‘them and us’ mentality. What we want is a framework that promotes productive employment relationships," says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.
"Strikes are costly - for both workers and businesses - and are the last resort. A negotiated settlement is preferable rather than a strike. Given the proposed changes in employment legislation, it is concerning that the current industrial action may well be providing a realistic view of what the future holds," says Mr Campbell.
"Rather, the fundamental requirement to drive wage growth is for New Zealand’s productivity to rise," says Mr Campbell.
Recently the Productivity Commission’s economics and research director Paul Conway stated that the hours worked per capita in New Zealand are the highest in the OECD, but the value produced from the New Zealand labour force is the lowest. Our wages are lower than other OECD countries because our productivity is lower.
"Which is why the EMA is asking Government MPs to please explain how the proposed changes to industrial relations will deliver to the stated aim of driving a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.
"We see no evidence that anything in the suggested amendments will make one iota of difference to driving long-term productivity growth. It would seem logical to have this debate first, such as in the yet to convene Future of Work Forum, before charging ahead with changing our current employment law.
"We’ve seen the current coalition deliver pragmatic changes to some policies, and we’re appealing for the same sensible approach here," says Mr Campbell.