The vulnerable campaign

September 11th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NZ Herald reports:

A Dunedin-based cleaning company has taken its campaign online saying part of the Employment Relations Act is failing businesses – the site called “vulnerable minister” targets Minister of Labour .

The site is here.

Crest Commercial Cleaning launched the website last week after three years of lobbying the Government to change part 6A of the ERA, which was set up to protect ‘vulnerable’ contract workers.

Under the law if a business changes its contract, ‘vulnerable workers’ are given the right to transfer their employment under the same terms and conditions – the outgoing contactor has a month to notify the new contractor if employees want to transfer.

Crest managing director Grant McLauchlan said the legislation was ambiguous and needed clarity.

He said his company were finding out the day before it took over a new contract.

“We want to be told in due course, because we get to the last day and don’t know if people are electing to transfer – we are left not knowing if we need to recruit our own people.

“It’s so ambiguous, and every time we try and work it out we end up in the employment court.
Personally I don’t think the clause should remain in law at all. A company winning a contract should not be obligated to hire the staff of the losing company.
But if such a clause is to remain, it should at least be workable.
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5 Responses to “The vulnerable campaign”

  1. Elaycee (4,297 comments) says:

    This is a totally daft provision – but one fiercely protected by UNITE et al.

    Company decides to tender its cleaning. It happens every week somewhere in NZ. And most likely, the tender will be done for one of two (main) reasons… either they’re not happy with the incumbents (Company ‘A’) and don’t want to roll the contract over, or they’re testing the market.

    So other companies tender for the work. And Company ‘B’ wins the contract. But Company ‘B’ doesn’t have the right to appoint it’s own staff – because this daft provision gives all existing employees working for Company ‘A’ the sole right to decide whether they will work for Company ‘B’ or not. And Company ‘B’ has no right to pick and choose the best employees or any employees for that matter – it has to take existing staff at their existing terms and conditions if they so decide to transfer.

    And Company ‘A’ does not have to provide details of incumbent staff until the last minute (so all incumbent staff have time to decide whether they want to exercise their option to join Company ‘B’! And if Company ‘B’ has a policy where they run Police checks for all staff (and Company ‘A’ didn’t), they cannot ‘require’ staff who decide to transfer to them under this provision, to be subjected to a Police check. And worse… if a transferring employee is subsequently found to have a Police record, then they are stuck with them.

    So if a Company decides that they want to change the cleaners (for whatever reason) they may well end up with the very same personnel who will be just wearing a different shirt.

    Agree this provision has to be changed – it is draconian at best.

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  2. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    Elaycee: “So if a Company decides that they want to change the cleaners (for whatever reason) they may well end up with the very same personnel who will be just wearing a different shirt. ”

    Exactly. If it’s the cleaning staff that is the problem (a common occurance one would assume) you’re just out of luck.

    It’s a luducrous law and it’s incredible that it was ever considered let alone passed.

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  3. B A W (98 comments) says:

    Any change should also have a stipulation that they only have to hire the new workers if they were performing well. Otherwise the new employer would also get the performance problems which may have been the cause of the original problem.

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  4. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Don’t wait for the Nats to change anything. They can barely change their undies daily.

    We’ve waited for youth rates to come back but 4 years on they are still discrimating against young people. Next year as things get tougher and an election looming they “might: finally understand.
    But really I doubt most of them even can be bothered.

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  5. Liberal Minded Kiwi (1,563 comments) says:

    There is a reason why a company will lose a contract to a better company – in most cases it’s the workers who don’t represent their company well. I see cleaners all the time, many good, but the majority awful and untrained. They lose business for the company so I’d be pissed if I had to rehire these people over my own people.

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