There have now been twice as many people go on strike in the past ten months than in the entire nine years of the previous National-led Government, National’s spokespeople for Workplace Relations and Safety, Scott Simpson and Dan Bidois say.

“We have seen more people strike in the past ten months than in the previous nine years because this Government has lost all credibility at the negotiating table after excessively ramping up union expectations around pay rises for public servants during the election,” Mr Simpson says.

“Yesterday saw almost 30,000 primary teachers strike for the first time since 1994. This means more than 60,000 people have gone on strike across a number of crucial sectors including education, health, retail, manufacturing, transport, and in the public sector.

“And there are more to come. The 60,000 strikes already this year come before the Government’s proposed union-friendly employment law changes are imposed which will make it harder to do business and hire workers.

“National supports higher wages but the way to increase them is through building a strong economy, not tanking it through regressive labour changes and anti-growth policies which sink business confidence and slow the economy.”

Associate Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Mr Bidois says New Zealand’s current labour law settings are some of the best and most successful in the world, but the Government’s plan to deliver more rigid union powers will deliver less jobs, lower wages and more strikes.

“The Government has introduced legislation that would significantly strengthen union power and increase compliance costs on businesses. They would make businesses less productive, reducing their confidence to employ new staff, lift wages or invest for growth.

“These reforms are one of the main causes of New Zealand’s plummeting business confidence which is already flowing through to reduced job creation and lower wage growth. The uncertainty the proposed changes are creating is unsurprising when even the Prime Minister is publicly getting the detail of the legislation wrong.

“These changes are bad for business and bad for workers – the only winners are Labour’s union mates.

“National opposes these reforms and urges the Government to go back to the drawing board to avoid further disruptive strike action, rather than turning a blind eye to businesses’ concerns in the name of ideology.”

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