CTU MEDIA RELEASE 26 October 2008
Labour policy good for workers
"Labour's industrial relations policy release today hits all the rights spots both in terms of dealing with the
immediate implications of the current economic crisis but also in building future workplaces that are smart and
productive, and are decent and fair places to work," Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said today.
"A focus on retraining, minimum redundancy and support for workers is essential so that workers don't unfairly feel the
full brunt of a slowing economy over the next couple of years."
"Ensuring that more workers who want to access the right to collectively bargain can do so without facing huge barriers
will improve working conditions and protections for young workers and low paid employees, and will also provide the
platform for a whole-industry focus on issues like productivity and training."
"The CTU continues to call for a $15 minimum wage. But we welcome the reassurance that minimum wages will continue to
increase under Labour. We also welcome the focus on productivity and skills which will make higher wages across the
"While National has hinted at policy to also support redundant workers, to date its industrial relations policy only
seeks to reduce the access rights and negotiation abilities of unions, and remove workers' security when they change
jobs by introducing a 90 day period where workers can be fired at will. This is hardly the sort of worker rights policy
that shows a commitment to decent work and security."
The CTU has today released new analysis of a National Party election promise to remove unfair dismissal protections for
workers in small businesses - nearly a third of the workforce and 97 per cent of firms.
"This analysis shows that the approach would be bad for workers and business in these uncertain economic times,
including discouraging people from taking jobs in smaller firms where their rights are removed," Helen Kelly said.
Download the analysis here: http://union.org.nz/sites/union/files/90-Day-Fire-At-Will-Analysis-Oct08.p df