Print this page

Industrial relations taking NZ back to "them v us"

  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

Changes to industrial relations proposed in the Employment Relations Amendment Bill are driving a "them v us" approach in the workplace says EMA.

In EMA’s oral submission to the select committee considering the Bill, Chief Executive, Kim Campbell said the changes were more than a simple wind back to the previous regime under the former Labour Government and in fact have gone too far.

"This is a retrograde Bill that will cause business uncertainty and a loss of confidence by the business sector. It does nothing to improve productivity nor a high performing economy, which was one of the stated goals behind the Bill," says Mr Campbell.

"We believe the Bill in its current wording is adversarial and contrary to the principles of good faith bargaining. It seeks to add more compulsion, more regulation and more prescription at a time when we need to be more flexible, agile and competitive," says Mr Campbell.

The EMA outlined key concerns on behalf of its membership. In particular these included:

- Retrenchment of the 90-day trial period- Compulsion to conclude collective agreement bargaining- Automatic right of entry by a union official to a workplace- Elimination of the opt-out clause for a multi-employer collective (MECA)

"However, we are struggling to see how the proposed changes will deliver a framework conducive to what the future of work holds.

"For example, the MECA framework being proposed in this Bill is very similar to the one currently being unwound by the socialist government in France - where 8% of union members set 100% of the workforce pay and conditions," says Mr Campbell.

Therefore, the EMA believes the Bill should be put on hold until the Future of Work committee has reported back to Government. The tripartite working group, comprised of business, union and government representatives, will examine the multiple influences impacting the workplace and how New Zealand can prepare for what the future of work may look like.

"It seems odd to put in place legislation now, which the working group may seek to modify or overturn, especially when the current Employment Relations Act is working well," says Mr Campbell.

  • Source: A EMA release