The CTU have brought over Sharan Burrow, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Congress, to try and whip up opposition to the very modest and minor employment law changes being made by the Government.
They obviously wrote a press release for Burrow, and I can only assume Burrow didn’t read it. The release claims:
“The New Zealand Government has binding obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the ILO Constitution, the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms at Work; and ILO Convention No. 98 on Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining. All of these instruments say the same: New Zealand must uphold and promote the rights of workers to bargain collectively and to take strike action in support of these rights.”
I guess they are hoping no one actually reads those covenants and conventions. Take the ICESCR:
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 8 (1) – “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure: ….(d) The right to strike, provided that it is exercised in conformity with the laws of the particular country…”
So the right to strike is clearly not unlimited.
All the law changes do is say the employers can not be forced into a multi-employer contract – they have to agree to it.
The other semi-significant change is merely returning the law to where it was when Labour introduced the ERA in 2000. This “states the duty of good faith does not require the parties to conclude a collective agreement. Instead, the Employment Relations Authority may declare whether collective bargaining has concluded.”
I suspect what the real opposition is about, is the law change that doesn’t force new employees to fund a union unless they opt out.