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Bye bye workers’ rights

Written By: - Date published: 4:55 pm, September 3rd, 2012 - 12 comments
Categories: same old national, workers' rights - Tags:

The government is pushing on with their Environmental Relations Act Amendment Bill, reducing workers’ rights to rest breaks.

According to employers they need the flexibility, but as unions point out “negotiate” with the boss means the boss gets to decide.  This isn’t an equal relationship.

On Nine to Noon this morning their employment lawyer admitted some employers will abuse this law.  And where the likes of Phil O’Reilly say that most employers will come to a reasonable solution, it is after all the few bad employers that we need to make law for.  Ignoring that fact is ignoring parliament’s job.

As the National Secretary of First Union points out employers are operating happily under the current rules.  When they were first introduced the relative inflexibility caused a few problems as new procedures were required and teething troubles took time to sort out.  But ultimately the current law has the requirements of reasonableness in it anyway.

Breaks are important to the health and safety of workers.  When they’re unpaid, it is even more unreasonable to expect workers to be available during them.  Being disciplined for having to use the loo is insane.

But then, this is National.  So I guess we can expect the attacks on worker rights (right to talk to union, wage cuts for working to rule, wages dropping, attacks on health and safety and ACC, etc) to continue.

12 comments on “Bye bye workers’ rights ”

  1. BernyD 1

    Those employers should have had a better hiring policy, this change is fixing what isn’t broken.
    It’s a bit like a marriage contract when you hire someone.
    Something Unions used to do by default, they at least Quantified the positions for people.

  2. Dr Terry 2

    Well, I guess it is timely to lay off punishing beneficiaries and starving children for a short period, and turn attention to sticking the boot into the workers by way of a change of scene. However, this Government could probably manage both trespasses at once, maybe even more.

    • bbfloyd 2.1

      It’s their way of getting an emotional balance….It’s the “royal” gene that causes the need in most incurable tories…..

  3. captain hook 3

    they only in business because it gives them a chance to terrorise other human beings.
    this proclivity can find no other outlet.

  4. weka 4

    There’s a poll in that first link where you can vote

    Should employers be able to require their staff to work or stay at their workplace during breaks?

    YES: 692 votes, 4.4%

    NO: 12447 votes, 78.7%

    DEPENDS: 2675 votes, 16.9% 

  5. Carol 5

    NAct is kind of dismantling workers’ rights by stealth…. one plank at a time.

    An opposition party needs to stand up and say they will work to re-instate and protect all the lost rights, and outline how they will improve workplaces.

    • bbfloyd 5.1

      something along the lines of david parkers list? there has been quite a long list of “successes” since 2009….. some so cleverly ignored by the fourth estate that we have still the pleasure of discovery to look forward to…..

      • bbfloyd 5.1.1

        must have hit the wrong key again,,, the rest of the comment is gone…… the above “list” was an example of the relatively easy start whoever replaces the current toady in the labour “gig” will have when this mock admin implodes. ….. as in “these will be the first useless objects to be removed”…

        I can only assume they will get back on to the job of reinstating sane labour practices, and industry training that produces quality trades people. .. that used to be taken for granted here….

        wiser heads within the unions, and opposition parties need to take the debate regarding policy directions, and implementation away from the news media to give it a chance to produce concrete, realistic outcomes…….

  6. ak 6

    This is the big one.

    Fire at Will never quite cut through the I’m-alright-Jack.

    But this one is everyone’s steaming cup of tea.

    Blackball and Slavery and every asshole employer ever since.

    Screaming through those comments and terrifying Crazy Jokey Eyes on the box tonight.

    With Asset Sales, a loaded double barrel for Labour.

    But will the pussy riot pull?

    Or are Greens the new Meat?

  7. This would breach health and safety laws.

  8. Roy 8

    I would expect productivity to fall if workers aren’t permitted to take breaks.

  9. headbanger 9

    This is what New Zealand workers voted for.

    National always works on behalf of the top CEOs, not workers, not small or medium business and sometimes not even big businesses – just the top CEOs who form a nice little club with additions like O’Reilly, the Chambers of Commerce etc. – the ‘old boys club’.

    So New Zealand workers who voted for National (or couldn’t be bothered to get off the couch) specifically asked for lower wages, less human/legal/employment rights, less breaks and holidays, less opportunity and a one way ticket to the ‘land of plenty’.

    I have to admit that I don’t understand why they asked for these changes but this process is by no means finished and I’m sure they are eager to return to the situation they had in the 1990s.

    Rather than being surprised that National is doing this – which was inevitable – I’m more surprised that the workers who voted National in aren’t complaining louder that this process to strip away their rights and opportunities isn’t happening faster.

    I just hope I don’t hear any one of these voters complaining for getting what they asked for because that really does make me angry. 

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