New work­place law hurt­ing busi­nesses

Horowhenua Chronicle - - GARDENING - By NATHAN GUY

In the last few weeks the Gov­ern­ment has passed new work­place laws that are go­ing to hurt small busi­ness own­ers by hand­ing the power to the unions and tak­ing away the flex­i­bil­ity they need to com­pete in a modern mar­ket place.

Of work­ers in New Zealand, 83 per cent aren’t mem­bers of a union. Mem­ber­ship rates have been drop­ping for decades and this is the Gov­ern­ment’s way of ap­peas­ing the unions who pre­dom­i­nantly voted Labour in the last elec­tion. It’s also a cun­ning way to try and drive up union mem­ber­ship.

Horowhenua Ka¯ piti’s lo­cal econ­omy is largely based around small busi­ness and it’s con­cern­ing that union of­fi­cials now have greater ac­cess, with­out no­tice, to many work­places. Once in­side, they can dan­gle new statu­tory pro­tec­tions for union mem­bers that non-mem­bers won’t share. Their re­cruit­ment drive will be on the em­ployer’s time and be a cost on the busi­ness.

Al­low­ing this sort of union ac­cess is rem­i­nis­cent of the 1970s where some may re­mem­ber the de­ba­cle of Welling­ton’s BNZ Cen­tre (now the State In­sur­ance Build­ing) which was de­signed in the 1960s but not fin­ished till the 1980s be­cause of union in­ter­fer­ence. There will also con­tinue to be more dis­rup­tion and strikes.

Or­di­nary Ki­wis end up pay­ing the price for the dis­rup­tions. Fam­i­lies with school chil­dren, com­muters and peo­ple us­ing health and jus­tice ser­vices are among those be­ing dis­rupted and adds to house­hold costs.

New Zealand’s un­em­ploy­ment rate is 3.9 per cent — well be­low the OECD av­er­age of 5.2 per cent. We have one of the high­est rates of em­ploy­ment in the world and a lot of busi­nesses strug­gle to find work­ers which is why many gaps are filled by over­seas work­ers. For­tu­nately the suc­cess­ful 90-day trial pe­riod re­mains for small and medium sized busi­nesses but has been re­moved for larger work­place over 20 staff. It’s re­ally just ide­ol­ogy driven which is a shame.

Na­tional has lis­tened to small busi­nesses through our Have Your Say cam­paign and these changes were some­thing that re­ally con­cerned peo­ple. It’s a shame to see them rammed through by the Gov­ern­ment and Na­tional would re­peal them should we be lucky enough to win the 2020 elec­tion.

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