Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes

Wednesday, 29 October 2014, 9:31 am

The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union.

 

“Workers are particularly concerned about the provisions that will weaken collective bargaining” says Graham Cooke, National Secretary.

“Two of the longest lockouts in New Zealand in recent years have been in the meat industry, and workers are fearful rogue employers will use the removal of the requirement to conclude a collective agreement as a new weapon in their armoury to avoid dealing with collective bargaining.”

“We are already seeing the undermining of collective agreements in some companies. When it is no longer a requirement to offer the collective agreement to new workers in the first 30 days, more workers will be forced to accept individual agreements if they want to return to work after the season.

“Over time, this means the loss of hard won collective rights in the New Zealand meat industry and unfair competition for good employers.

“These short sighted and unnecessary changes are bad for the workers and bad for the industry. Sadly we’re in for some rocky times ahead,” Mr Cooke says.

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