CTU asks for detail on labour law plans

Kirk Hope.
Kirk Hope.
The Council of Trade Unions and BusinessNZ have entered the election campaign, calling for more detail from both National and Labour about planned employment law changes.

The CTU called for National to commit to maintaining working Kiwis' leave entitlements.

President Richard Wagstaff said working people were concerned the National Party would change the 2003 Holidays Act if returned to government, stripping hard-working Kiwis of some basic leave entitlements.

''Clearly, the National Party is colluding with some employers to represent a situation whereby the current legislation is too difficult for employers to implement. These concerns centre on entitlements to bereavement leave, annual leave, public holidays and sick leave.''

Mr Wagstaff's comments follow a release earlier yesterday from BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope.

Business needed to know what industrial relations system would be introduced if New Zealand got a Labour-led government, Mr Hope said.

Labour had promised a system of Fair Pay Agreements where large collective agreements covering entire occupations and many businesses would be promoted. Labour said it would take a year to work out the details of the policy.

''What has been proposed is a substantial change to the framework that industrial relations has been conducted within for the last 30 years.

''Business would be concerned if the Fair Pay Agreements resembled national awards which caused strikes and economic decline in the past.''

BusinessNZ was seeking reassurance the proposed large collectives would be different from the national awards of the past, Mr Hope said.

Labour needed to be more specific about its plans for industrial relations.

''Business - particularly small business - has a right to know how all this might work,'' he said.

Mr Wagstaff called on National to state it would not reduce leave entitlements, if it was re-elected.

Working people needed to know National was not planning to cut paid holidays, paid public holidays, paid sick leave and pay while on bereavement leave.

The CTU agreed more needed to be done to assist and support employers to meet their legal obligations, he said.

''Employers clearly need greater levels of support, guidance and engagement.''

The CTU envisaged the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment having a significant role in ensuring employers adhered to the law, Mr Wagstaff said.


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