Jami-Lee Ross’ bill, the Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the ballot.
The purpose of the bill is:
to repeal section 97 of the Employment Relations Act 2000. Section 97 prevents the use of volunteers, contractors, or other casual employees by an employer during a strike or lockout.
Damn good stuff. Section 97 is a pernicious part of the Employment Relations Act 2000 which allows for unions to shut down business while they strike. Ports of Auckland got pinged for this and fined $40,000 when the Maritime Union attempted to cripple the port. Rock Gas is also facing the same penalties for putting on replacement drivers in order for gas supplies to continue.
Some of the sooks in National will be a bit squeamish about going to war against the unions, but the simple fact is they are the enemy and they are going to be providing cash and resources to labour and oing to war against National anyway.
John Key has said that National will support the bill to the first reading, so that is 59 votes. John Banks will support it also so that is 60. All that is needed is NZ First and Peter Dunne to say yes and the bill will be able to progress.
Part 8 – Clauses 97-111 – Strikes and Lockouts
Under these clauses employees are allowed to strike for a collective agreement, to obtain a multi-employer collective contract, and on the grounds of safety and health.
It prohibits an employer from using replacement labour during a strike but does not prohibit striking workers taking up other employment. This has the potential for a few employees to, in some circumstances, hold the employer, the industry, and sometimes the country, to ransom until their demands are met.
On the basis of their 2000 statement, one would expect they would at least vote for the bill at first reading so it can be considered by a select committee.
United Future, which is basically Peter Dunne now, also opposed the ERA in 2000. If they are all consistent in their principles then there si a good chance this can pass.
What would be better though is for Simon Bridges to adopt this small bill into his other Employment Relations changes and put it through as a government bill.