3 September 1999
Unions starting to flex muscles
Treasurer Bill English predicted today that the country would see more examples over coming weeks of unions starting to
flex their muscles in anticipation of a return to their place in the sun.
"As a result of the industrial action involving Ansett pilots, today we have the PPTA saying its members will think
carefully about which airline it will use in future.
"An employer is having an industrial dispute with some of its workers and as a result other unionists are prepared to
take supportive action. That sort of muscle-flexing will continue."
Mr English told the Auckland Chamber of Commerce today that a good picture was emerging of the primacy unions were
seeing for themselves as the Opposition's industrial relations policy became clearer.
"Already, Labour's policy has encouraged higher levels of union-driven strike action that we have seen for some time,
as unions contemplate a return to their place in the sun.
"Labour's plans to repeal the Employment Contracts Act, introduce paid parental leave, and re-nationalise ACC are anti
jobs and anti business. It would certainly be harder for businesses to employ people.
"Paid parental leave will be funded by employers at an estimated cost of $100 million. Re-nationalising ACC will mean
the reversal of the $200 million savings that have been made by businesses. By this time next year New Zealand work
places could be facing an additional $300 million in costs per year as well, as more muscle-flexing from the unions, and
that must mean less jobs," said Mr English.