About time

Cabinet is finally considering some Labour law changes. I sincerely hope that they dont listen to Kate Wilkinson’s claims that the “industry” wants the retention of Section 6A…it could get very embarrassing.

The cosy relationship between the SFWU and the BSC needs some sunlight. Kate Wilkinson claims she has consulted with industry yet records show that the BSC has only met the minister on just a few occasions. meanwhile investigations into the BSC and their financial accounts show that they may well be operating in a manner not unlike the Maritime Union and Meatworkers Union, failing to consolidate their operations up.

Section 6a is a travesty and should be repealed. The cosy rort between Labour, the unions and the BSC will be exposed.

Cabinet will today consider controversial changes to labour laws including the future of a provision protecting vulnerable workers when their work is job is restructured.

Under proposals signalled by Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson in May, the legislation is expected to include allowing employers to walk away from collective bargaining, opt out of multi-employer negotiations, deduct the pay of partially striking workers and initiate collective bargaining.

Workers will be able to ask for flexible work arrangements without having to wait until they have been employed for six months.

Labour claims the changes will drive down wages.

It is understood the legislation being considered today will also include the Government’s response to a review of Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act.

The provision, introduced by the former Labour government, provides ”continuity of employment” for groups of low-paid employees such as cleaners when a business is restructured. It prevents workers having their pay and conditions reduced for the same job, or being replaced by cheaper contractors.

Labour’s industrial relations spokeswoman Darien Fenton said she was concerned the Government would limit the provision to large workplaces.


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  • Agent BallSack

    No matter how much a business is suffering or how useless you are, under Labour you will keep your job at the expense of the rich pricks

  • Anonymouse Coward

    There is a political risk to National in this. They run the risk risk of being painted as meanies who will act against the most powerless in the workforce for the sake of their sanctity of contract ideology.

    • Jase

      Your name suits you, Coward.

      • Anonymouse Coward

        National could pander to nostril flaring reactionaries who think the poor should be flogged for stealing fruit, but they run the risk of alienating those who think people should be given a fair go particularly those workers who live down the far end of struggle street.

        • 2ndAmendment

          Hanged. Us nostril flaring reactionaries think the poor should be hanged for stealing fruit, and hang their families with ’em.

          The current government, of course, has a much fairer policy: the poor & their families self-deport to Australia.

  • 2ndAmendment

    Labour claims the changes will drive down wages.

    About time – about f**king time!

    As Wiki says: Ruth Richardson was very clear, very blunt, very honest about (the ECA’s) purpose. It was to achieve the dramatic lowering of wages, very quickly

    Every single change made by Ruth (and Roger too – although Ruth’s 1991 budget were the only real reforms NZ has ever see) has now been undone by consecutive Labour and National Governments

    National could do far, far worse than simply revert to the 1991 Employment Contracts Act in toto. How could they do even better? Just by do what National promised to do before the ’08 election: repeal the current cuddly-wuddly employee biased “employment relations act” and replace it with a real employers’ rights act making clear that 1) it’s the employers’ money; 2) they can do what they like with their money; 3) employers can hire and fire and pay whoever they like whenever they like; 4) striking, theft, or other forms of business damage are both civil and criminal offenses.

    All unions should be deregistered and their member banned from claiming any benefits, working for the government, voting etc in perpetuity

    • James Gray

      Yet another member of the “make one sector of society better off (which happens to be the one I belong to)” party…

      Employees have every right to refuse to sell their labour below a given price. Employers have every right to choose whether to pay the price, if they feel the price is still worthwhile, or buy labour from somebody else.

      Over-reachers from either are no different from each other

      • 2ndAmendment

        Employees have every right to refuse to sell their labour below a given price.

        Nope. If they’ve accepted an implicit contract they are bound by those terms, set by the employer – whose money it is after all. If they leave or otherwise act against that contract they must be civilly and criminally liable.

        • James Gray

          Assuming they had reasonable knowledge of the implicit contract, Yes, they should bear the civil consequences of their actions, just as the employer should if they were to act against said contract.

          But violating a contract has never been a criminal offence, why should it be in this case?

          • 2ndAmendment

            just as the employer should if they were to act against said contract.

            It’s the employers’ damn money. No one has a right to insist an employer spends their own money one way or another.

            But violating a contract has never been a criminal offense, why should it be in this case?

            Complete ignorance. Until the 1960s, violation of “employment” terms most certainly were criminal offenses. That’s why “theft as a servant” is much more serious than simple theft. Breaking an apprenticeship, breaking terms of domestic service, breaking fealty have all be considered much more seriously than breaches of civil contracts. The true precedent here is “aid and counsel” — working against or destroying the employers’ business, by action or inaction, whether by desertion, by striking, by dealing with competitors — is essentially petit treason.

          • James Gray

            It’s the employee’s damn labour. Both parties bring something to the table, so why are you arguing for one person to be able to break the contract but not the other?

            To be clear, I mean the contract that the employer and employee have both agreed to. Not any anti-employer legislation that the government may have passed.

  • Andy

    Big deal what have National got to lose, none of the “vulnerable workers” will vote National anyway because the SFWU are so Labour they tell them how to vote. This is ridiculous and Kate Wilkinson should be moved to the side and let a politician with some nads come and sort this out!

    • Anonymouse Coward

      Good idea Andy. I nominate the person who sits at the head of the cabinet table to lead on this. After all those jobs most likely to be affected are the same ones worked by his widowed mother when he was a boy.

      • 2ndAmendment

        worked by his widowed mother when he was a boy living in a state house going to a state school on the state windows dole & kids dole.

        which just goes to show: bludgers have no place voting, let alone in parliament.

  • smega rocket

    I would be happy to see employers being able to walk away from collective bargaining but I don’t want my tax dollars paying for police having to provide security for those employers.

    • 2ndAmendment

      I would be happy to see employers being able to walk away from collective bargaining

      It’s excellent that Key is doing this – although I’ll only believe it when the NZEI, PPTA, & PSA contracts are broken!

      I don’t want my tax dollars paying for police having to provide security for those employers.

      I was going to write “whyever not” – but you’re right, in the current environment I wouldn’t want to put Taser-armed normal coppers up against MUNZ either! But the STG, or better still private armed security, I can think of very few better uses for tax dollars – very few indeed!

  • Andy

    No news from comrade kate yet suprise suprise she failed to fire