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Labour slams law change proposals

Monday 14 May 2012 2:21p.m.

Unions, Labour slam law change proposals

The Government's raft of proposed labour law changes will drive down wages and make the exodus to Australia even worse, Labour says.

They've been revealed just a day after about 6000 Kiwis queued up at an Oz Jobs Expo in Auckland looking for a better life and higher pay across the Tasman.

Labour MP Darien Fenton says the proposals, which include allowing employers to opt out of collective bargaining, will destabilise the labour market and undermine the pride New Zealanders put into their work.

"The raft of changes around collective bargaining will drive down wages for all workers, no wonder there was so much interest in the jobs expo over the weekend," she said today.

"Fed up Kiwi workers have good reason to believe things will get worse before they get better."

The Dominion Post says it's got confidential cabinet papers showing proposed reforms that go beyond National's pre-election policy announcements.

They include:

* Employers will be able to opt out of collective bargaining

* Employers won't have to conclude collective bargaining, they'll only be required to negotiate in good faith

* Non-union employees will no longer have to be employed on a collective contract for the first 30 days on the job

* Employers will be able to deduct the pay of workers who take part in partial strikes.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly says the changes would drive down wages, which is what the Government wants.

BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly backs the proposals and says some employers face endless bargaining which makes their businesses less productive.


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