15 May 2012:
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says the changes to employment law announced yesterday will be bad news for workers and the economy.
The changes include a change to the Employment Relations Act so that employers are not required to conclude a collective agreement, allowing employers to opt out of multi-employer bargaining and removing the 30-day rule that allows new workers to be covered by a collective agreement for the first 30 days of their employment.
“Contrary to what the Prime Minister is saying, these changes are not about fairness or flexibility. They are entirely about reducing workers’ rights. Allowing employers to opt out of multi-employer agreements will increase costs, drive wages down and reduce efficiencies,” says NZNO president Nano Tunnicliff.
“Currently all 20 district health boards (DHBs) negotiate a multi-employer collective agreement with unions. The agreement ensures workers throughout the country receive the same pay and conditions and DHBs receive the benefits and efficiencies of working together.”
“It seems strange that the Government has spent the last 3 and a half years telling the health sector to centralise services to gain efficiencies and yet these changes will allow the opposite to happen,” Tunnicliff says.
“What New Zealand needs is a strong, productive economy based on decent wages and working conditions. These changes to legislation will erode workers’ rights and drive down wages and conditions. They are bad faith law. ”