Well the changes they’re bringing in to undermine working Kiwis’ bargaining power will do exactly that. In particular the move to remove the need to conclude bargaining.
Make no mistake, that’s a rule that will allow employers to simply walk away from negotiations. No need to surface bargain. No need to draw things out. Just say “we’re not having a collective agreement here” and that’s it.
John Key is claiming it won’t affect “the vast bulk” of New Zealanders. And, aside from the 360,000 New Zealanders in unions, it won’t. Directly.
But the thing is, union deals drag everyone’s wages up. It’s not just the hundreds of thousands of non-union members on union sites that get to enjoy union-cut deals either – the reason people get paid what they do at (non-union) TV3 is because they’re have to stay competitive with (unionised) TVNZ in the wage market. The reason people get paid what they do at non-union mills and factories is because they need to keep their wages close to the wages paid at union mills and factories. And middle-class people with degrees get paid what they do because public sector unions make sure those qualifications maintain their value. Unionised Kiwi workers are constantly pulling other Kiwi workers up with them.
National understands this. They realise if you keep unions down you keep down the wages of everyone else too.
That’s why they’re undermining the laws that require employers to act in good faith and thus reducing the bargaining power of union members.
Put simply. They’d love to see wages drop.