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Trade unions will gain even more power as a result of new laws taking effect tomorrow, National’s Workplace Relations Spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“New trade union friendly laws pushed through Parliament last year mean powerful and increasingly militant trade unions will become more aggressive than they have been over the past 18 months.

“The changes mean trade unions will have greater influence in the day to day running of businesses. There are a raft of new rules and regulations employers are having to grapple with. All the changes add confusion, complexity and cost. None of them improve productivity.

“Reports of businesses using a ‘sinking lid’ are increasing. When people leave or retire they are simply not replaced. Employers are looking for ways to minimise the negative impacts of these changes and having fewer staff is one of those.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They are already struggling as trading conditions weaken across the country and typically small businesses don’t have access to their own in-house HR resource or advice.

“It’s no surprise that many will now structure their business to minimise intrusive, strike happy trade union involvement by reducing employee numbers, hiring contractors instead of permanent staff or just shrinking their business.

“Since the Labour-led government came to power we’ve had more strikes than at any time in the past 30 years. That’s no coincidence and these changes are more about the Labour-led Government paying back a political debt than they are about creating an economy in which businesses can have the confidence to grow and create new permanent jobs.”

Notes to editors:

Changes coming into effect on Monday 6th May include:

  • Paid time for union delegates to do union work on the employers time
  • Requirement to conclude collective bargaining
  • Provision of rates of wages and salary to be included in collective agreements
  • Employers’ obligations to new employees who are not union members
  • Changes to 90 day trial periods
  • Continuity of employment if an employee’s work is affected by restructuring
  • Rest break and meal break changes

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