Surprise, surprise, the Government has completely ignored the submissions and protests of those opposing changes to the Employment Relations and Holidays Acts.
The Select Committee has reported back on the two bills and have recommended almost no changes. In the Employment Relations Bill No 2, the extension of the 90 day no rights trial periods to all workplaces, the restricting of workers to their unions at work and the weakening of personal grievance provisions remain.
In the Holidays Amendment Bill, employers will still be able to demand a medical certificate for a single day’s absence (one of the more silly provisions that I really thought the government might ditch) and the sale of the fourth week’s annual leave and the weakening of rights around alternative statutory holidays will go ahead.
What’s annoying is while the government’s is prepared to rush through bad employment law under urgency to please an international corporation, they are not prepared to listen to the 8,000 people who took the trouble to make submissions opposing these two bills, or to the 22,000 workers who rallied across New Zealand a couple of weeks ago.
There’s nothing about these changes that will improve productivity or enhance workplace relationships. There’s nothing here that will help our wages keep pace with, let alone catch up with Australia. This is a feeble attempt to please employers and business at the expense of some pretty fundamental rights.
The only possible message for Kiwi workers from this is that the government has its ears tight shut when it comes to their issues – unless they want their ideas and help to get through a recession.