Well, it’s a relief to see that while the Maori Party might have voted to take money out of the pockets of the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich, they’ve at least held the line on protecting our work rights by rejecting National’s fire at will bill.
Pita Sharples hits the nail on the head:
‘Our policy for workers is to support, uphold and extend their rights… We have no evidence offered with this Bill, that probationary periods provide gains for new, inexperienced or marginalised employees as claimed.
‘We think this Bill discourages the very thing that is needed for employers to have clear probationary contracts with new employees, and to have good employment, induction and training processes, to minimise the risk of poor performance.”
And Hone points out just how illusory National’s so-called ‘safeguards’ really are.
‘Lower pay rates for Maori workers across all industries indicate the extent of institutional racism that this Bill may unintentionally exacerbate, especially if the forecast recession increases unemployment.
‘Although employees can raise issue of discrimination/harassment with ERA and Employment Court, they cannot be reinstated, as reinstatement is a remedy for unjustifiable dismissal cases which are disallowed under the Bill.
‘Access to mediation is essentially meaningless, because if it cannot be taken further, there is no incentive for the employer to come to a settlement or resolution.’
Of course, even if National insists on ramming it through the bill will still have the numbers to pass with the support of ACT and United Future. But the bill’s legitimacy, already tarnished as it is, will be further undermined without the Maori Party’s support.