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New Zealand – Amendments proposed for employee relations bill

25 June 2013

To date, 27 proposed amendments have been submitted to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee in relation to the New Zealand Employee Relations Bill. The Bill includes proposed changes to the law in relation to the use of temporary labour during strike periods.

Part 8 (section 97) of the Employment Relations Act (2000) prohibits an employer from using replacement labour during a strike but does not prohibit striking workers taking up other employment.

New Zealand National Party MP for Botany said, “Any employment legislation needs to provide a balance between employers and employees to be fair. Section 97 creates an imbalance by providing unions with a significant legislative advantage during negotiations. The restrictions placed on employers preventing them from engaging temporary replacement labour to maintain business continuity during a strike or lockout even extends to family members, volunteers, and willing workers from associated companies that may wish to work within an organisation to maintain business continuity. Restricting the ability of employers to engage temporary replacement labour can have a considerable impact on the productivity and financial viability of an organisation. These restrictions particularly affect the primary production processing industries where production cannot cease without considerable loss to a business.”

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