Forced fair pay

Who would have thought that employment law is going to be such an electoral hot potato?

The Government has come out and decided that fair pay agreements (FPA) are going to be forced into legislation using their majority, and anyone opposing their view has been ignored.

National has come out and said that they will repeal this legislation if they win the next election.

Labour would have you believe that there are certain segments of society or classes of workers who are being exploited to such an extent, that despite being free to join a union and be part of a collective agreement, that is not enough protection, and their industry should be regulated by a FPA.

If the unions and employers cannot agree on wage rates, then the Employment Relations Authority will decide what a fair rate of pay is.

National would have you believe that fair pay agreements are not needed; that they are yet another cost to employers; that unions currently exist for the benefit of their members which includes negotiating pay rates; that if you drive up the cost of labour that simply drives up the costs of products and services, which drives up inflation, and in particular it is hugely undemocratic for 10 percent of workers to force 90 percent of workers into a fair pay agreement.

Personally, I support the increases in the minimum wage that Labour has brought in during the last two terms because that is directly putting money into the hands of the most vulnerable.

I don’t support 90 percent of workers (in specific industries) losing the right to opt out of an FPA, despite the need of Labour to keep the union movement on side for the election next year. So FPA’s are most definitely an election issue now.

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