The government today announced some employment relations reforms, including the restoration of meal breaks and the right to collective bargaining. But they also plan to retain 90 day trial periods for small businesses:
The Government will ban 90 day trial periods for any business with more than 19 employees as part of the overhaul.
The controversial fire-at-will scheme, introduced by the last government, gave employers the right to dismiss workers without cause during a 90-day trial period.
Small businesses – those with 19 employees or fewer – will still be allowed to use trials.
According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the latest data from Statistics New Zealand suggests that 97 per cent (487,602) of all enterprises are counted as small businesses, but these employ only 29 per cent (599,880) of all employees in New Zealand.
So basicly the 30% of the workforce who are most vulnerable, because their bosses are the stupidest and crappest and lack institutional expertise, will be left at the mercy of their employers. Yay Labour! Let’s do this! Errr…
And apparently we were lucky to get even that. Because despite solid empirical evidence that 90 day trials don’t work, Labour wanted to toady to employers and wanted to retain them. The reason they’ve agreed to remove them for large employers is that NZ First demanded it:
Labour had campaigned on allowing trial-period workers to challenge a dismissal, which would then be decided by a referee service within three weeks, with a $5000 payout cap and no right of appeal.
Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said that would no longer be the case.
“What we will announce will be quite different to that. That’s a result of our negotiations with NZ First.”
So there you have it: worker’s rights, which Labour wanted to ditch, were protected by Winston. Something is seriously wrong with the Labour Party when that happens. But that’s what happens when you have a party which fundamentally stands for nothing.