Labour says National is “scaremongering” over the Employment Relations Amendment Bill.
Jan Tinetti, Labour’s buddy MP for the Coromandel Electorate says New Zealand economy is going well, despite Scott Simpson’s comments on strike actions. Coromandel National MP Simpson, National’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson, said the Government is over-egging expectations for wages and emboldening unions leading to recent insdustrialisations.
“So far this year almost 70,000 people have stopped work, including two of the biggest state sector workforces, bus drivers, factory workers, medical advisers and shop workers.
“Jacinda Ardern’s administration is to blame for the spike in work stoppages. The unions sensed opportunity from a Labour-led Government intent on demolishing one of the pillars of our economy — labour law that allows for flexible workplaces capable of competing in a fast-changing global marketplace.
“At the same time the unions picked up the nod and wink from the Beehive that it is open to wage increases out of all proportion to the rate of inflation,” he said.
But Jan Tinetti said National’s outlook is pessimistic.
“GDP growth figures released last week by Statistics New Zealand showed solid, broadbased growth, and represented the strongest quarterly and per capita numbers since June 2016,” she said. GDP figures shows it rose by 1 per cent in the June 2018 quarter up from 0.5 the previous quarter.
Around 15 industries recorded higher production, with the largest from agriculture, up by 4.2 per cent.
The mining sector recorded a 20 per cent fall, its largest in 29 years.
Tinetti said the solid growth and surplus outlined in Budget 2018 backed the government’s actions.
“The government has a plan to rebuild New Zealand’s core public services, such as our schools and hospitals, after nine years of neglect by the previous government,” she said.
Simpson says business groups were completely ignored when the Employment Relations Amendment Bill was considered in select committee.
“Business alone won’t bear the brunt of the Government’s economic vandalism. It will slow job creation and give companies less room to increase wages. No wonder consumer confidence is at a six-year low, while business confidence is the lowest in 10 years.”
The Amendment Bill, introduced earlier in the year, proposes to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 by reintroducing minimum standards and protections for employees. It would alsochange collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace.
Simpson said National has lodged Supplementary Order Papers to keep 90-day trials for all businesses, allow firms to opt out of collective contracts and multi-employer collective agreements and ensure union officials have to get permission to enter a workplace.
Tinetti said National’s “scaremongering” over the Bill compounds the struggle facing some of New Zealand’s lowest paid and most vulnerable workers.
“This Bill strikes a balance between the rights of workers and employers. Over a long period, wages in New Zealand haven’t kept up with productivity growth. This has meant workers have fallen behind and our country has become more unequal, a legacy of the previous government. We need to lift wages as a way to address the squeeze on middle income earners,” she said.