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12/9/2018 — Economics, Politics and Government
Employment law concerns raised

Radio New Zealand reported yesterday that business leaders are accusing the Government of failing to listen to their objections about proposed employment law changes.

Radio NZ said a parliamentary select committee has reported back on the Employment Relations Amendment law which will now go before Parliament for its second reading.

Proposed changes include an end to 90 day trials for businesses with more than 20 employees and allowing union representatives access to workplaces.

BusinessNZ's chief executive, Kirk Hope, told Radio NZ’s Morning Report yesterday that the biggest concern was compelling employers to conclude collective bargaining.

"MECA (multi-employers collective agreements) is similarly problematic and not being able to opt-out is problematic,” he said.

“Essentially what you would be requiring is a bunch of employers from across the country to agree terms and conditions that are consistent across the country without acknowledgment of regional variations in things like wages, so those things are really going to hurt provincial New Zealand.

“The legislation won't help productivity, it won't help business growth and won't provide the flexibility that NZ businesses are going to need heading into the future."

The president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Richard Wagstaff, told Morning Report the criticism was alarmist and the changes went some way to restoring rights eroded over the past nine years.

“We had the usual contest of ideas in there (the select committee), views reflected by workers and unions that working people need a better deal in NZ and we need better representation and get better outcomes,” he claimed.

Speaking on Morning Report, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she is listing to business leaders on employment law changes, but she doesn’t agree with them.

*Source: radionz.co.nz

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BusinessNZ’s chief executive Kirk Hope. Photo: Radio NZ.