The Young Nats’ Mitchell Baker has a great remit at the National Party Northern Region Conference this weekend, calling for the repeal of Section 97 of the Employment Relations Act 2000. Section 97 was bought by the union funders of the Labour Party, to give them disproportionate power in contract negotiations.
Section 97 was unprecedented. It did the following:
1. Removed the right for employers to use others, including volunteers, management and workers from other divisions during strikes.
2. Allowed Unions to hold primary production operations to ransom, knowing that no labour in a milk factory meant millions of dollars a day of wasted milk.
3. Removed the right for employers to test the market to determine if union demands are fair.
Unions bought this legislation to skew the playing field in their favour and put business at a disadvantage. New Zealand has had labour related legislation for over 100 years, prior legislation including that passed by previous Labour governments has never had anything like Section 97. There was no prohibition on use of replacement labour in The Employment Contracts Act 1991, or its predecessors, the Labour Relations Act 1987, the Industrial Relations Act 1973, the Industrial Relations Act 1949, the Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1925 or 1908.
Unions are good at buying legislation mainly because no one on the right is ever willing to call it for what it is.
This is very different from the way Labour squeals like a little girl over things like Sky City’s convention center.
National should follow Mitchell Baker’s lead and man up to the enemy rather than running away from them the moment they squawk.