The reprieve from the rain may have been the only thing worth celebrating this Labour Day. Probably pissed that there isn’t a holiday celebrating big business, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson chose to shift the focus away from celebrating workers’ rights to removing them.
While previously signalled,yesterday’s introduction of legislation striping workers of minimum entitlements to rest and meal breaks, came as a bit of a surprise. CTU President Helen Kelly points out that neither business nor unions were consulted or notified.
Hopefully the Bill won’t be rushed through under urgency like most other legislation put forward by this government. If a proper select committee process happens the Minister may actually get to hear why having minimum legal rights around break is important and that low paid and casualised workers are not often in a position to individually bargain such conditions. If there are problems implementing the legislation surely it is better to iron those out rather than returning to the archaic situation where workers have absolutely no minimum legal entitlement to take a break.
Of course turning up to listen to workers is not a forte of the Minister so I won’t be holding my breath for common sense on this issue to prevail.
– Andrew Campbell