More strikes in last 9 months than past 9 years

Labour is supposed to value workers, why are so many striking when that party is leading the government?

The worrying increase in strike action under this union-friendly Government will slow our economy, make it harder to do business and affect the access of New Zealanders to public services, Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says.

Union friendly isn’t necessarily worker friendly.

“After less than nine months of this Government 32,000 workers have been involved in industrial action, or signalled their intention to be – compared to just over 27,000 that undertook strike action in the entire nine years of the previous Government.

“And the strike action is escalating.

“Today 4,000 core public servants at MBIE and IRD as well as 150 Wairarapa meat workers announced they would undertake industrial action, following on from the likes of bus drivers and cinema and port workers who have repeatedly disrupted businesses.

“On top of this, around 49,000 teachers are also considering their options.

“That’s around 81,000 workers involved in or considering strike action this year.

“All this is going to make it harder for New Zealanders to do business and access public services like healthcare.

“National supports higher wages and the average wage increased by $13,000 under the previous Government, but the way to do that is to grow the economy while this unrest unleashed by the Government will just slow it down.

“Already the uncertainty is impacting peoples’ quality of life and ultimately the economy. With business confidence already low Labour needs to put the needs of the public and economy first, not its union backers.

“The situation will only get worse when Labour’s proposed employment law reforms are implemented, which are specifically targeted at strengthening unions and weakening the ability of New Zealanders to run their businesses.”

Kim Campbell, chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association also says proposed changes will make it worse:

In a world in which collaboration and flexibility are key to the modern workplace, it seems strange we are trying to reinvent an industrial relations framework which appears built on a foundation of “them” and “us”.

Let’s get the elephant in the room out upfront. Yes, some employers are poor operators, but the employment relations system is effective at addressing this. The financial and reputational costs are high for employers who breach employment laws or seek ways around them.

But the law does not catch all such operators, many workers are exploited and I agree there are problems to address.

My question is, why address this with a major law change seemingly based on the premise that all employers are bad and all employees are vulnerable?

Enforcement is a key part of a functioning framework and more labour inspectors seems an obvious solution.

We need an industrial relations framework that enables employers and employees to have the flexibility to meet the growing demands of the future of work, not stifle it. Recently, IAG and Lion NZ pushed the need for flexible working policies, saying these benefit both staff and employers. This embodies the sentiment that employers want to work alongside modern, forward-thinking unions that offer solutions to help move the business forward. . .

Proposed changes will take employers and employees back to last century, not equip them for this one.

 

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