There was a spirited protest outside the National Party conference in Auckland today. The Herald reported the turnout at 300. At one point dozens of protesters stormed into the hotel where the conference was being held.
Despite Key earlier saying National wouldn’t make a move on labour laws this term, the government has now launched an attack on union rights. Given the diminished strength of the union movement it seems like “over kill”. On the other hand, it could be that the capitalists feel that the limited rights currently enjoyed by workers are excessive, and that the unions have not earned those rights.
While many workers may have little understanding of the concept of union access rights and what is at stake, most will be angered by the extension of the 90 day trial period. That will affect a big chunk of the working class.
The measures announced by the Nats today are just what the small and medium sized employers have been calling for, but are not a central concern of big employers. Big employers have no problem sacking workers and handling the mediation process under current legislation. Few sacked workers are ever reinstated, but small employers want to dispense with even the pretence of “fairness”.
At the rally today a Dairy Worker’s Union representative said they’d be taking the fight to the workplace and be calling on workers to strike to defend fellow workers sacked in the 90 day period.
One action like that would be worth a thousand mediations.