3 News reports:
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.
Oh yes a law change that would not allow a union to cripple an employer is fascism. Pretty fucking insulting to all those people who died actually fighting fascism.
“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.”
I believe the bill should cover strikes only, but not lock-outs. Basically I think both strikes and lock-outs should be a last resort. Hence allowing temporary labour for strikes but not lockouts would discourage both employers and unions from resorting to them. Once you do, it is very hard to ever have good faith relations going forward.
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.
A pity, as I think it would have been good to have it go to select committee, so people could submit on it, and it could be amended. But under MMP the major party in Government doesn’t win all the votes.