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Kiwis should be able to choose to make work better together

The Council of Trade Unions today presented to the Education and Workforce Select Committee on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, in support of giving New Zealanders back the ability to improve workplaces together. CTU President Richard Wagstaff said that the proposed legal reforms repaired and protected the freedom of working Kiwis to choose to join in unions if they wished.

“As a country we have a strong history of having each other’s back and pitching in to improve everyone’s lot. This bill means you can stand up for and support your colleagues more easily, and can make your own choices about how you want to support others at work.”

“Being able to make a fully informed choice on whether you decide to join in union with other working people, to negotiate your pay and working conditions in a collective agreement, or get help from your union if you get stuck are basic rights we need to repair,” he said.

“Most employers and working people have no problems entering into constructive relationships and respecting common decency like providing a break for a cuppa. But unfortunately, the erosion of rights at work over the last nine years has allowed a few bad employers to pressure working people with the threat of 90 day trials and punitive repercussions for working together for a better deal.”

“What we’re hearing is that the erosion of minimums has allowed cowboy operators who treat working people badly to undercut other local businesses who uphold more dignified standards. We’re saying that there should be a bottom line for everyone doing business in New Zealand -treating the people you employ with respect. We’ll stand up to anyone who says this isn’t a tradition worth cementing in law.”