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Workers' bill 'beneficial to employers' - Bridges

Friday 14 Jun 2013 7:31 a.m.

Minister of Labour Simon Bridges (file)

Minister of Labour Simon Bridges (file)

Debate is already raging over a new workplace disputes bill before Parliament.

The Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill was drafted by National's Jami-Lee Ross and was plucked from the ballot yesterday.

The bill would give businesses the right to hire temporary workers during a lock-out or strike – a practice that’s currently illegal.

Critics say it’ll weaken the power of unions and workers will be left the ones who will suffer the most

Bill Newson from the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says in reality low paid workers have little negotiating power.

"It's just another legislative attack really, on the ability of people in an already difficult time. I mean, no one in their right mind would suggest we have a problem with overpay," says Mr Newson.

He believes under the bill, any worker who tries to better their conditions in a time of high employment will find themselves down the road with someone else doing their job.

However, Minister of Labour Simon Bridges says there are obvious benefits to employers.

"They'll have workers doing the work when they might not otherwise have that. And of course, those workers will be working and earning money that they otherwise wouldn’t necessarily earn," says Mr Bridges.

He believes National will vote 'yes' to the bill’s first reading, but support beyond that is not guaranteed.

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