The Government’s determination to force workers and industries to collectively bargain wages and conditions will drive down the competitiveness of our employers, while undercutting workers’ rights to tailor employment contracts to suit themselves, National’s Workplace Relations and Safety Spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“Today’s announcement by Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway sends a chilling messages to employers and exporters that competition will be sacrificed in order to advantage unions,” Mr Simpson says.

“The Government fails to explain why these changes are needed. In an environment of record job growth, they make no sense for the New Zealand economy, employers, or the 82 per cent of workers who do not belong to a union.

“This appears to be a simple payoff for Labour’s union supporters at the expense of everyone else.

“The Government is already driving employment law changes through Parliament that will restrict the choice and flexibility workers have, make it harder for businesses to innovate to boost productivity, and give unions rights they haven’t had before.

“Adding forced industry-wide collective bargaining on top of all this will add costs to businesses and take choices away from workers.

“It is impossible to simply legislate for higher wages. The global economy is more complicated than that.

“What works is a confident economy that exports its products to the world and can afford to pay workers more. In the last 12 months New Zealand’s terms of trade have been at a record high and the full-time average wage has increased 3.8 per cent.

“This is what a successful economic plan looks like.

“Labour’s determination to return to 1970s-style union-dominated collective bargaining will hurt workers at the very time when Government policies are already increasing the costs of living and making it harder for Kiwi families to get ahead.”

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