INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour’s Union Payback Policy

Published: Tue 7 Sep 1999 04:08 PM
Labour’s industrial relations policy is a prescription for disaster for this country, Enterprise and Commerce Minister Max Bradford said today.
“Not only would it drag New Zealand back to the strike-filled days of the 1970s and 1980s, but it would be a major blow to the freedom of choice workers currently enjoy under the Employment Contracts Act.
“Labour’s policy on collective contracts is a Trojan Horse for compulsory unionism,” Mr Bradford said.
“Labour says it will not make joining a union compulsory, either directly or indirectly.
“However, people wanting to join a collective will have no choice.
“Labour would give monopoly bargaining rights to unions and therefore force workers to join unions.
“What's more, once a person joins a union, the union will be authorised to represent them in all negotiations- individual and collective.
“Thus, union members won’t be able to negotiate their own individual contract where their union has already negotiated a collective agreement,” Mr Bradford said.
“Labour will legalise strikes in pursuit of multi-employer contracts. This will simply allow union domination of New Zealand work sites, by those who have a vested interest in a particular industrial dispute.
“For example, Ansett and Air New Zealand pilots belong to the same union. If the union wants the same agreement for both airlines, then they will all go on strike- holding the whole country to ransom.
Mr Bradford said that under Labour's policy, unions would be able to run riot.
“Unions would have compulsory access to work sites to organise and recruit new members.
“Weasel words cannot cover-up the fact that Labour’s policy is nothing more than attempt to return to the days of union domination,” he said.
“The Title of Labour’s Industrial relations Policy is: “Working Together”.
The subtitle should be Labour and the Unions Working Together.
“The Employment Contracts Act has produced huge benefits for New Zealanders over the last eight years.
“The simple fact is that unions are not popular with most New Zealanders.
“The ECA gives the unions exactly the same rights to represent employees as any other bargaining agent.
Yet since 1991, the percentage of the workforce represented by unions has fallen from 35 per cent to under 20 per cent,” Mr Bradford said.
ENDS

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