A UMR survey released today by the CTU shows that 80 per cent of New Zealanders oppose the Government’s planned changes to dismissal law. Previous polls had asked the question about whether respondents supported a 90 day trial and unsurprisingly, the majority said yes – because after all these were already allowed under previous law.
But the government’s proposed changes in the Employment Relations Bill (No. 2) remove the right of all workers to be told why they have been sacked and to challenge that reason (among other things). As the Human Rights Commission told the Select Committee last Thursday :
It is unusual for Parliament to take away rights, particularly such a fundamental right as the right of access to a hearing. Denial of redress in this manner in something as basic as employment has profound human rights implications.
The UMR Research telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 750 New Zealanders asked the following question:
“Do you think that all employees should have the right to appeal if they think they have been unfairly dismissed, even if their dismissal was during the first 90 days of their employment?
The response was:
Submissions have already begun on this Bill and will continue day and night over the next few weeks to allow the large number of submitters to be heard. Even then, thousands of what the government calls “form” submissions and those who have gone to the trouble to add comments will be ignored.
I agree with the CTU that the government needs to rethink this policy. People from across the spectrum of incomes, ages, regions and occupations strongly oppose what the Government is doing and that’s not surprising. This law offends against the basic Kiwi value of fairness and access to justice.
ACT rolled the Minister of Labour’s recommendation that the 90 day no rights trial period be limited to workplaces of 50 or less and won an extension of it to all workplaces. Surely, now ACT is so discredited, the government can afford to be brave enough to revisit this policy and do the right thing by Kiwis?