INDEPENDENT NEWS

More Taxpayer-Supplied Perks for Joining Union

Published: Fri 29 Nov 2002 01:35 PM
More Taxpayer-Supplied Perks for Joining Union
ACT Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide today revealed that Helen Clark's government has supplied further taxpayer subsidies to employees signing up with government-friendly unions.
"The scandalous payments don't stop with the one-off cash bounties for PSA membership.
"The Government is also inducing teachers to join the NZEI through a five million dollar bribe funnelled through the "Teachers Retirement Savings Scheme". Teachers who sign up to the savings scheme are entitled to have a dollar-for-dollar taxpayer subsidy up to a maximum of one percent of their salary. The top-up is anywhere between $234 and $513 a year depending on where a teacher sits on the pay scale.
"There would be nothing objectionable to the top-up if it were available to every teacher.
"But here's the kicker: teachers must join the primary school teachers' union, the NZEI, to obtain the subsidy. Teachers who are not members of the NZEI don't receive the subsidy.
"The "Teachers Retirement Savings Scheme" web page ( http://www.teachersretire.org.nz ( http://www.teachersretire.org.nz /) ) makes the joining requirements clear: "Currently employed teachers must join NZEI ( mailto:membership@nzei.org.nz) to qualify". The web page even has a direct email link to the teachers' union: mailto:membership@nzei.org.nz ( mailto:membership@nzei.org.nz)
"Minister Trevor Mallard has promised teachers that the subsidy will increase, further increasing the inducement to join the NZEI. ( http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.cfm?DocumentID=15400 ( http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.cfm?DocumentID=15400.
"If Mr Mallard thinks the subsidy is such a good idea, he should make it available to all teachers, not just those who sign up to the NZEI.
"The taxpayer-supplied perk is yet another example of a preference to an employee because of their union status, and of undue influence being exerted on non-union members to join. Once again, the payments appear to be a clear breach of sections 9 and 11 of the Employment Relations Act.
"The bounties for joining the PSA exposed this week are just the tip of the iceberg. Education dollars are being rorted to increase union numbers and revenue in yet another Labour Party booster union. The practice of paying civil servants and teachers to join Labour-friendly unions is scandalous. The practice must be fully investigated and stopped," concluded Mr Hide.

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