Tracy Watkins reports that the National/Act government will be taking all work rights from anyone in a new job in a firm with 20 staff or less and they’re going to do it under urgency.
I’ve heard that the question of whether to proceed with the bill under urgency was still being hotly debated within National’s caucus last night as some senior MPs are worried that the protests it would spark will end their honeymoon and help set a narrative of the National/Act government as hardline right. Something that would mean each step of National’s plan to slowly shift the country right would be viewed through a less than sympathetic lens.
But business needs its payback and if Watkins is right then hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will find themselves with no protections or bargaining power very soon.
As with any erosion of work rights it will be the most vulnerable workers that are hit hardest. Workers in the retail and service sector are already poorly paid and more likely to circulated from job to job. Watch as their wages and conditions fall even further as employers in the sector take full advantage of the fact their new workers have no protections to drive wages down and then watch as the wages of those in more secure employment stagnate as employers take advantage of the leverage they gain from having high unemployment and workers with no rights on tap.
I have no doubt that if National have decided to run the no-rights bill through under urgency that they’ll do so as part of a “recovery package” in the expectation that the media will focus on the big infrastructure spend and whatever else they come up with rather than the removal of rights for a big chunk of Kiwi workers. We’ll see.