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Empty promises on employment law

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, July 22nd, 2010 - 29 comments
Categories: class war, election 2011, jobs, john key, national - Tags: ,

National’s promises aren’t worth the paper that they’re printed on. They’ve broken plenty and downgraded most of the rest to “aspirational goals” (so much for catching up with Australia). Now John Key’s current anti-worker employment policies add a whole new chapter to the list of broken promises. Before the election Key said:

Key says National will largely retain the Employment Relations Act

National has said if it is elected to power it will largely retain the Employment Relations Act (ERA).

National leader John Key said his party’s industrial relations policy would keep the ERA in place, but introduce a 90 day trial period for firms with fewer than 20 staff.

“Good-faith provisions will still apply, as will rights to sick leave, holidays, and health and safety provisions. Rules of natural justice and human rights legislation will apply. Mediation will be available in disputes, and employers won’t be able to hire and fire the same employee every 90 days,” Mr Key said.

National has dropped its 2005 policy of restricting union access to work places, but will allow workers to bargain collectively without having to belong to a union.

Mr Key said National would also keep four weeks annual leave, but allow employees to trade the fourth week for cash. This could only be at the employee’s request and could not be raised in negotiations for an agreement.

Now Key wants to break the promise to restrict the fire at will bill to firms with fewer than 20 staff. Now Key wants to break the promise not to restrict union access to work places. Now Key wants to break his promise and make sick leave rules unworkable. Now Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson refuses to confirm that good-faith provisions still trump fire at will. And does anyone believe that the employee will be in control of their annual leave in every work place? Yeah right.

Big picture – John Key hasn’t just broken his 2008 promise to “keep 99 percent of the current Employment Relations Act”, he has – smashed it to smithereens:

Among other changes to the Employment Relations Act, the test for justified dismissal will be changed from what a reasonable employer “would” do, to what a reasonable employer “could” do. The change makes the test easier to justifiably dismiss a worker.

Remember this in 2011 people. The Nats have lied their way into government, and they will try to lie their way into a second term. John Key’s promises are nothing more than focus group driven hot air. He’ll tell you want you want to hear, then sell you down the river. With a smile and a wave.

29 comments on “Empty promises on employment law ”

  1. Pascal's bookie 1

    Good catch r0b

  2. Bored 2

    Takes me back to Jim Bolgers “Decent Society”….and the sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach as I listened to Ruth Bitchardsons “Mother of all budgets”…aka kill the poor. Here we go again.

    PS We did not fight enough last time, reckon we will do any better this time?

  3. kriswgtn 3

    If people get off their collective asses


    and people get out to vote next year to vote them out

    • Bunnykinz 3.1

      As much as I hate National, I can’t see much leadership being taken on these issues other than a lot of griping by other parties to suggest that we should be voting for them to recitfy the situation rather than voting for them simply because they are the alternative. Admittedly, I am trying follow these chages from the UK so might not be privvy to the fantastic actions taken by Labour and the Greens, but it does look a lot like they are simply twiddling their thumbs waiting for National to gift an election to them. Is there anyone else who has this impression? Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

      • loota 3.1.1

        Labour needs to do more. Probably keeping its powder dry at the moment. Greens appear most proactive currently, and have won some share as they have moved away from the ‘loony left’ label and Labour has not taken enough obvious ownership of various green issues, including the mining and consequent mining background.

        Given recent favourable polling, the Greens will be seriously considering how they might be able to get 9-10-11% of the Party vote next elections.

        • Bunnykinz

          I know what you mean about “keeping its powder dry”, but do you not find it a bit offensive that in a time like this, rather than coming out swinging and acting as a real opposition, they may be thinking in terms of future electioneering? I realise that it is a double-edged sword where the best way to affect real change is to win, but really, I want the opposition to fight tooth and nail for my (well, in this case, your) rights no matter how it will impact on their election chances.

          Labour’s big problem is that it seems like everytime an opportunity arises for it to paint itself as “friend of the people”, it seems like they are waiting for a better opportunity, and will probably end up losing an election with a perfectly dry “powder keg”.

          Again, this is just from my remote perspective.

  4. tc 4

    The numbers don’t lie…..little or no growth, people leaving for good, unemployment levels combined with a standard of living in decline being reflected in rising crime stats.

    Then there’s the nat induced inflationary pressure from ETS, ACC, GST rises, the usual attacks on workers rights/education/welfare. This’s not un-expected by those of us with memories of the last 2 nat govts.

    NZ can’t afford another term of this whichever way you look at it….labour may have become stale under Clark but they had vision, a plan and they could walk the talk not just smile and wave.

    • just saying 4.1

      “….they had a vision, a plan, and they could walk the talk…..”

      Do tell…

      And do they have the same vision/plan now?

      Seriously, with the election likely a year off, and with Key electioneering has arse off, when IS Labour going to release policy?

      • Pete 4.1.1

        Fair point re current Labour policy, but you can’t seriously be suggesting that Key is “electioneering his arse off”…

        …unless you are talking about his constant photo opportunities, openings and hugging (crying) babies?

        • Draco T Bastard

          In academic circles it’s generally accepted the electioneering happens all the time now.

          • Pete

            Yep – they pin it on our three-year election cycle.

            I’d tend to agree. But having to wait another year for a chance to elect a new governemnt would be enough to drive me spare…

            • Draco T Bastard

              Even in 4 year election cycles it’s considered to be happening all the time. IMO, it’s why we never get policy discussion any more. Actual discussion doesn’t fit into a biased 10 second sound bite.

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      “Then there’s the nat induced inflationary pressure from ETS”
      Under labour the inflationary pressure would have been greater. So I don’t think you can really pin this on the nats.

  5. just saying 5

    And the rest. You don’t think with Key, it’s all about winning another term?

  6. bbfloyd 6

    there is no doubt in my mind that ron(key) has been electioneering since the day he took office. in fact, that is the sole reason he is there(as leader) in my opinion. he has been the perfect decoy for those who would have us stripped of any rights to a decent standard of living while indulging in wholesale asset stripping and profiteering.

  7. Maggie 7

    Interesting to note surrent legislation allows an employer to require a sick notice for one day if there is good reason to suspect the leave isn’t genuine. So what is Kate Wilkinson on about?

  8. Len 8

    This article is emotive rubbish, not one did he “promise” any of those things and is typical of the red poppy sydrome found on this site

    • Roger 8.1

      So you’re ok with politicians telling blatant lies to get elected because you don’t believe it was a ‘promise’?

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Ah, another Jonkey government apologist, enabling the present lying, psychopathic NACT government.

  9. Ryan 9

    @Len. I heard those promises made by the NATS.. Why is it that right wingers come to blog there comments (lies) here? Go lubber off to whale oil, and bbfloyd.. It’s not called profiteering its called CORRUPTION.

  10. Green Tea 10

    “National’s promises aren’t worth the paper that they’re printed on”

    You should ask if the CTU’s promise to (actually) fight these measures is worth the paper they’re printed on.

  11. I sing this to the tune of “I’m a lumberjack & I’m okay” that TV add, with blokes, chainsaws and pink stockings!

    I’m a millionaire and I’m okay
    Don’t have to worry about anyone else.
    I sleep all night, I’m PM by day
    And Crosby and Textor tell me what to say.

    Authoritarian Daddy State
    Thats my job, to set it all up.

    We’ll cut the workers to the bone
    We’ll arm the Police as they oppose,
    We’ll load them up with massive debt
    we’ll have endentured labour for years and years.

    Next verse… anyone?

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