It comes as no surprise to me to learn that the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) have been slagging off my Redundancy Protection Bill (due for first reading in a couple of months) in their quarterly briefings to members.
I’m told it got quite personal. An acquaintance who attended the EMA briefing where my bill was discussed says that there was a photo of me put up on the power-point with a run-down on my union background, a scary dressing down about the evils of the bill, and a warning of what’s coming should Labour be re-elected to government.
Afterwards, I came across an open letter to me on the web from an EMA member-organisation, written as a result of their attendance at one of these briefings. They were wound up and panicked by the EMA’s representation of my bill – in my view quite unnecessarily. I feel sorry for them.
The only problem is they didn’t send it to me. I would gladly have responded to their concerns and issues, just as I would happily front any EMA briefing to have a debate about my bill.
Now I see the EMA is advertising a new workshop, called “Learn restructuring – the easy way” – in other words, how to make workers redundant.
And they’re charging $448 plus GST for the privilege.
Funny thing, though. According to an 2007 EMA survey on redundancy 66.8% of employers had a redundancy clause in their agreements with workers, of which 42.8% provided for compensation. The most common formula was 4 weeks compensation for the first year of service and 2 weeks for each year of service after that.
That’s exactly what my bill provides for.
It’s this kind of scare campaigning that unions (and Labour) are often accused of – yet here it is in all of its glory in the Northern EMA – the bosses union.