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When workers rights are under attack...
He came to brag to National Party delegates about his government's attack on young and vulnerable workers but hundreds of workers and unionists had a message waiting for John Key outside the conference: we will fight for our rights at work.
Key was invited to come outside and talk to the workers whose rights he is attacking. He wouldn't come out so the many of the workers decided to go in.
They wanted to tell Key and the National party what they think of their plans, which include:
-Extending 90 day period with no right of appeal against unfair dismissal to all workplaces - fire at will to apply to all new workers at all businesses.
-Employers will be able to ‘communicate’ directly with workers during collective bargaining - effectively bypassing the elected union reps.
-Union access will require employer consent, which ‘cannot be unreasonably withheld’ - this means unions will have to prove access is being illegally denied in court if employers don't want their workers talking to union reps.
-Reduced focus on procedural fairness in personal grievance cases.
-The Government will ‘ensure that an employer's processes are not the subject of pedantic scrutiny’.
-The Employment Court will have less ability to question the reason for dismissal as the test is changed from what a reasonable employer ‘would’ do, to ‘could’ do.
-Removing reinstatement as the primary remedy in dismissal cases.
Up to one week's annual holidays can be traded for cash.
-Employers will be able to ‘ask for proof of sickness or injury within three consecutive days of an employee taking sick leave, but will have to cover the employee's reasonable costs in obtaining proof’.
These changes come on top of the original 90 day law in December 2008 rushed through under urgency, the limits being proposed to how unions conduct strike ballots, the requirement to agree on meal and refreshment break times, the axing of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit, the cut in union education funding, and the cuts in ACC entitlements.
The Council of Trade Unions is having an emmergency National Affilates Council meeting on Thursday 22nd July to plan a co-ordinated response.
Labour unions slam fire at will scheme extension
Matt McCarten: Workers lose their right to fair process in class war
John Minto: Back to the future for National
Chris Trotter: Defeat is not an option
Photos (courtesy of John Darroch)
More video of the protest from Rory Gatfield