CTU media release
CTU challenges Key to set tone for the nation
CTU President Helen Kelly today challenged John Key and the National Government to set the tone for industrial relations
in New Zealand to move the country away from the conflict and disruption of the current lockouts. Kelly was speaking to
delegates at the CTU’s Biennial Conference in Wellington.
“The Government has created the climate where employer is king and thinks it can act accordingly,” said Kelly.
“Government sets the tone in a country – if it promotes rights and respect, then employers and the broader community are
more likely to follow suit.”
“We have seen a number of employers keen to use lockouts and suspensions in an environment of rising unemployment and
Government attacks on worker rights.”
Kelly also criticised the Government’s attacks on ACC as an attack on the welfare of every New Zealander. “Nick Smith
has a big agenda in mind – sack all those on the board that care about and understand the scheme, create a crisis that
looks like you are saving the scheme, propose outrageous levy hikes and then save the day by cutting the entitlements
and moving into privatisation.” She said the community was looking to unions for leadership on this issue and their
fight for ACC would be a strong one.
Helen Kelly also outlined the other main business of the conference which included the discussion of union change – how
the union movement is adapting to today’s world and to changes in work and employment, how unions can develop their
leadership and the offer they make to working people.
Tomorrow the conference will open a debate on an alternative economic policy proposed by the CTU – a new way of looking
at the economy to close the widening gap between rich and poor, consider new definitions of wealth and value that
sustain the planet for future generations, and the start of a conversation on principles and initiatives which would
move the NZ economy to the place it should be to deliver the outcomes New Zealanders want.