Fire at Will: abuses, no new jobs

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, July 15th, 2009 - 9 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

The Key Government decided not to monitor the implementation of its Fire at Will law. It probably feared embarrassment.

Fortunately, the EMA and CTU have done something to fill the gap (from RNZ report, not yet online). The EMA conducted a survey of members and the CTU has asked workers to come to them for assistance if they have problems. In both cases, what they reveal will just be the tip of the iceberg.

  • The EMA found 25 of its members had used the no rights period, resulting in two dismissals.
  • The CTU is aware of six cases in which it believes workers were treated unfairly and would have had a case under the old law. In fact, some may still have cases under the new law.
  • No-one found anything to suggest that employers had employed more people than they otherwise would have due to Fire at Will.

So, some abuse, no new jobs. Just as the Left predicted. Another triumph for the Key Government.

9 comments on “Fire at Will: abuses, no new jobs”

  1. Maggie 1

    A telling comment from an employer at a childcare centre on this morning’s Morning Report.

    It gave her great peace of mind, she said, to know that if there were problems with a new employee they didn’t have to “waste” any time or effort in trying to work through them.

    She could have added: “It’s so much easier to just kick them out the door…..”

  2. StephenR 2

    No-one found anything to suggest that employers had employed more people than they otherwise would have due to Fire at Will.

    How would one know either way?

    • snoozer 2.1

      Well, the EMA would surely have asked its members don’t you think? After all, they’re trying to talk up this law. If they had found that their members were taking on new staff because of fire at will, we would be hearing all about it.

  3. The Voice of Reason 3

    Exactly right, StephenR. One of the major selling points of this legislation is ignorance. Younger people are not educated at school in their employment rights and usually only find out the hard way. This awful removal of individual rights relies heavily on the victims not knowing that they have alternatives.

    Equally, many employers wrongly believe that the fire at will legislation is an automatic thing, not subject to negotiation. I had a hilarious conversation with a snotty cafe owner earlier this week who insisted that all employees are automatically on the 90 day regime whether it was in their contract or not. And, get this, that it was retroactive. She genuinely believed that staff who were already employed prior to the change had lost their rights to personal grievances.

    She’s gonna make some lawyer very happy, very soon.

    • flipside 3.1

      The Voice of Reason: She’s gonna make some lawyer very happy, very soon.

      Given the assertion in your first paragraph that youth lack basic knowledge of employment rights, I (unfortunately) doubt that some lawyer will ever get involved. Also, given such low union density and membership rates, I also doubt that a union (Service and Food Workers I would guess) will get a chance to help the affected employees.

  4. StephenR 4

    Well, the EMA would surely have asked its members don’t you think

    I would guess that we were going to hear anyway, but its only been in action a few months – they were probably going to release some nice neat 6 or 12 month stats or something. They might have to play their hand now that the CTU has been sniffing around though…

  5. StephenR 5

    You’re right to clarify snoozer, thanks, so i’ll say just because the EMA members (wonder what proportion of NZ businesses that is?) have used the 90-day period, doesn’t mean that they would or wouldn’t have hired these people (however many that is, could well be a lot more than 25), so this isn’t an ideal indicator IMHO.

  6. Gordon Shumway 6

    The law is reasonable and working fine. Labour will not repeal it next time they have power.

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