As New Zealand workers face growing employer militancy with lockouts and demands for give-backs, Australia has been getting on with ensuring secure jobs and improving the pay and conditions of more vulnerable workers.
I’m really pleased to see that the Road Safety Remuneration Bill passed with a resounding vote in favour in the Senate. It comes after a long running campaign to make roads safer for all users by taking the pressure from truckies to work long hours, take short cuts and scrimp on maintenance just to earn a living.
I tried to get an inquiry into NZ truck safety and its relationship with remuneration a couple of years ago, but was blocked by the National Party, despite evidence of a trucking nightmare in New Zealand.
The problem hasn’t gone away. There is still one truck related death a week in New Zealand. Many drivers are owner-drivers, so they have no employment rights, because they are in a commercial arrangement. Some do okay, but others are struggling. Other driving industries, such as the Courier Industry also face enormous pressure.
I just want to see people earn fair income for the work they do.
The other bill the Australian Senate passed this week is the Fair Work Amendment (Textile, Clothing and Footwear Inudstry) Bill which extends most provisions of the Fair Work Act to contract outworkers in the textile, clothing and footwear industry by deeming them to be employees. Our legislation covers “Homeworkers” and deems them to be employees, which came about after serious exploitation of Homecare workers in the 1990′s and a major court decision.
It may be that we are ahead of Australia in this instance, but their legislation provides a good study on how we might tackle the ever increasing dependent contracting arrangements in New Zealand.
But wait…. does National care?