Labour policy missed opportunity for employers and employees to prosper together

29 Jun 2017

Labour policy - missed opportunity for employers and employees to prosper together

Labour's industrial relations policy would be a backward step for jobs and the economy, says BusinessNZ.

Labour's policy includes national awards negotiated across industries by unions.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope said national awards were an old-fashioned concept where every company within an industry would have to adopt the same terms and conditions for their workers.

"They would mean less flexibility for companies to innovate and pay productive workers more. New Zealand got rid of national awards in 1990 because they facilitated all the big strikes in the 1970s and '80s that critically damaged the economy."

Labour is also proposing central control by Government of minimum wage setting to achieve a rate of $16.50 an hour.

Mr Hope said there would be a range of opinions on the minimum wage rate, but the important thing was that the current system for setting the rate was through consultation between Government, business, unions and the public.

"We'd like to see this system continue, rather than having the Government simply decide on its own what the minimum rate should be," Mr Hope said.

Labour is also proposing unjustified dismissal provisions in trial periods.

Mr Hope said that missed the whole point of trial periods, which was to help people into employment who otherwise might find it hard to get a job.

"Employers find it hard to take a chance on someone without a good employment record if there's a chance of an expensive employment dispute if the new hire doesn't work out. Trial periods remove that risk, and give more opportunity for people to get into work. Putting unjustified dismissal provisions into trial periods would reduce opportunities for job-seekers."

Mr Hope said Labour's industrial relations policy missed opportunities for employers and employees to prosper together.