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The recommendations of Iain Lees-Galloway’s Fair Pay Agreement Working Group show the Government’s industrial relations agenda amounts to compulsory unionism by stealth, National’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“Businesses and workers should be frightened. The recommendations from the working group are as radical as we originally feared - backward, one-size-fits-all and rigid.

“Just 10 per cent of an industry would be able to trigger mandatory nationwide employment negotiations. Business owners would lose control over an important part of running their enterprise. Workers would be forced into line with the union movement.

“One of the most worrying aspects is the lack of opt-out provisions for businesses. That means both small and large businesses across New Zealand will be coerced into more restrictive, costly employment agreements. That is a step towards compulsory unionism.

“The Government needs to quickly dismiss these radical recommendations and give certainty to businesses and workers that they will not be coerced into these restored national awards. They hurt our economy in the 1970s and they will hurt it now.

“It is also worrying for the credibility of the recommendations if it is true that some working group members were prevented from expressing their own view of an appropriate framework. The report should reflect the entire spectrum of opinion of its members, not just the union and academic majority.

“National believes the best framework to increase wages over time includes flexible labour markets, respect for the right of individual workers and businesses to agree to their own terms and allows workers to negotiate their own contracts based on productivity or experience.”

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