Two industrial relations bills from the Right were pulled from the ballot today. If I didn’t know better I’d swear these things were rigged.
The first is Roger Douglas’ Youth Minimum Wage (Mitigation of Youth Unemployment) Amendment Bill, which would reintroduce the youth minimum wage, allowing employers to discriminate against 16 and 17 year olds on the basis of age.
The excuse they’re running with this time is that giving young people the same pay for the same work causes higher youth unemployment. The Right’s answer, of course, is to pay them less. But we know that’s bullshit. As Marty has conclusively shown, the rise in youth unemployment we’ve seen under National is simply a result of higher unemployment in general.
Still, it wouldn’t be the ACT Party if they weren’t kicking the vulnerable. The interesting thing will be to see how National reacts.
The second is Tau Henare’s Employment Relations (Workers Secret Ballot for Strikes) Bill, which aims to legislate to fix a problem that doesn’t exist by requiring unions to hold secret ballots before taking strike action – something they already do.
It would appear Tau hasn’t moved on from the 1980s when he was an organiser for the Clerical Workers’ Union. Undemocratic thugs like Tau aren’t tolerated in the unions these days.
As for the bill itself, I think Frog puts it well:
I don’t have a problem with the substance of the Bill. The reason it is bad is because it is a waste of Parliament’s time it addresses a problem that doesn’t exist, because in practice unions make decisions on strikes by secret ballot already. Surely Tau could have found a more pressing public issue to make the subject of a Member’s Bill.
There’s no doubt Tau could have chosen a more worthy and relevant issue for his member’s bill, especially since his party is usually so opposed to ‘unneccessary regulations’. But I suspect this is really about smearing the union movement with dated, cartoonish stereotypes in advance of the coming attacks on our employment rights.
Anyway, I’m still hanging out for that bill from the Right that’s going to lift wages and close the gap with Australia by 2025. I suspect we’ll be waiting for some time.