The rights of every worker in this country are under attack.
Protest outside the National Party conference at Sky City Hotel (Main entrance 72 Victoria Street West, Auckland City) on Sunday 18th July 10am
The National Government has just announced a number of significant changes to the Employment Relations Act. There are five major changes:
1: The 90 day legislation will be extended to workplaces with less than 50 staff, and probably to all workplaces soon afterwards. These laws let the boss fire you for whatever reason he likes in the first 90 days, and you can’t take out a personal grievance. Basically, you can get fired for nothing and there’s nothing you can do.
2: The right of union organisers to access the workplace will be severely restricted on unionised sites. And on sites that do not already have a well established trade union, the boss may be able to prevent the union from even coming through the doors. This is an authoritarian and undemocratic move which will make it much harder for workers to organise and fight for their rights.
3: EREL Education and Training Leave for Delegates and Members is to be abolished. This prevents union members from coming together and planning with each other how to win a better deal for everybody. Union members will now be punished for taking part in union conferences, with the new laws forcing them to take time out of the few weeks of annual leave they get.
4: The Holidays Act is to be changed, with the fourth weeks holiday being sold. This leaves workers with very little time in the year to enjoy time off work with their families, or to travel or just relax. The politicians will try and justify this by saying workers are offered a choice, but in practice what this means is that the boss can pick and choose whether to allow more than three weeks holiday, and if you don’t like it? Well, you’ll be fired within 90 days! This will be especially true on non-unionised sites where workers have no protection.
5: Bargaining Agents will be able to take the place of Unions in Collective Contract Negotiations. This will give more power to “yellow” company unions and will allow bosses to exclude unions entirely in favour of professional corporate law firms Read the rest of this entry »