Labor History of Aotearoa - New Zealand|
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 97 21:55:33 CST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian Hauk)
Subject: New Zealand Workers Protest Proposal To Limit Labor Rights
New Zealand Workers Protest Proposal To Limit Labor Rights
By Stuart Needham, in the Militant
Vol. 61, no. 45 (22 December 1997)
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -Trade unionists throughout New
Zealand have launched a public protest campaign against
proposals being considered by the National Party-New Zealand
First coalition government to amend the Holidays Act and
Employment Contracts Act.
The Holidays Act guarantees workers 11 paid public holidays
a year and three weeks' annual leave. Changes being considered
by the government would allow employers to replace some or all
of these holidays with cash payments. Part-time workers would
be classified as casual employees with no holiday entitlements.
Other changes being considered include abolishing or
reducing the powers of the Employment Court, which currently
hears about 4,000 personal grievance cases brought by workers
against employers each year, and a review of minimum wage
Unionists also fear that the Employment Contracts Act will
be amended to weaken personal grievance rights, particularly
the right to claim "unjustified dismissal." Such changes would
make it easier for employers to fire workers at will.
Some 3,000 workers rallied at Parliament in Wellington, the
capital, December 10 to protest the measure. Demonstrations are
also being organized in most major towns and cities throughout
the South Island, beginning December 13 in Nelson and ending in
Dunedin five days later.
A march and rally in Christchurch's city center is being
held at midday, December 17. A number of unions, including
members of the Meat Workers and Related Trades Union, are
stopping work to attend the protests.
Stuart Needham is a member of the Meat Workers Union.
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