National MP's strike bill defeated

  • 13/11/2013

By Peter Wilson

A bill that would have allowed employers to hire temporary workers during a strike has been defeated on its first reading in Parliament.

The member's bill was drafted by National's Jami-Lee Ross to repeal a section of the Employment Relations Act that has been in force since 2000.

It was not a government bill.

Mr Ross said that under current law unions held an unfair advantage.

"It allows them to hold employers to ransom," he said.

"Firms can't hire casual or temporary workers during a strike and millions of dollars worth of productivity are lost every day."

Labour fiercely opposed the bill.

"We've just heard the voice of the fascist National Party," said Andrew Little.

"National can't let history go, it has to trot out a stupid, silly bill like this."

Mr Little said if the bill became law it would be so unfair the Government would find itself in front of the International Labour Organisation.

"This bill doesn't just cover strikes, it covers lock-outs as well," he said.

"An employer would be able to lock out its employees and hire casual workers in their place - it would cause very serious harm."

His colleague Carol Beaumont said the bill was designed to make it impossible for workers to use a strike to settle a dispute.

"That happens very rarely anyway these days," she said.

"Not even the Employers and Manufacturers Association wants this bill."

Although all 59 National MPs and ACT leader John Banks voted for the bill, government ally Peter Dunne didn't.

The vote was tied at 60-60, which meant the bill didn't pass its first reading.

NZN

source: newshub archive


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