Plans to privatise workplace mediation services in provincial New Zealand have been met with dismay from both unions and employers, says Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.
“In another attempt by the National Party to privatise core Government services, MBIE has quietly begun consultation on their plans to outsource mediation services and close their regional offices in Palmerston North, Napier and Dunedin. It is driven by ideology rather than evidence and the response from those who most often use the service has been uniformly negative.
Lawyers, workers, the Human Rights Commission and even employers were united in their opposition to the Government’s bid to entrench zero-hour contracts during hearings which end today, Labour Issues spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says.
“Employers – including Business NZ -- told the select committee considering the Employment Standards Legislation Bill they don’t use zero hour contracts and they don’t need them.
While Labour Day offers many working people a great opportunity to spend precious time with our families, there’s more to do before we can really celebrate about our rights at work again, Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says.
“Kiwis traditionally celebrate the 8-hour working day on Labour Day. For most people that’s a thing of the past with insecure and irregular work, long hours, and low pay becoming the norm.
Documents obtained by Labour show Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse was advised to include dairy as a high risk activity in new health and safety legislation but didn’t, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says.
“Advice obtained under the Official Information Act shows agriculture and dairy were originally rated as high risk by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says.
“The Workplace Relations and Safety Minister set thresholds for what industries would be designated as high risk.
National’s destructive labour laws have forced 1000 workers at Talley's-owned freezing works AFFCO into taking strike action just to keep their employer at the bargaining table, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says.
“The Government only has itself to blame for this strike. AFFCO workers are taking action in response to Talley's application to walk away from bargaining after a year and a half of negotiating - something they can only do because National changed the law.
Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway.
“The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has written a letter to me expressing its mounting frustration at the way the Government has handled the Health and Safety Reform Bill.