New employment law would have stopped Ports of Auckland dispute - Bridges
Labour Minister Simon Bridges says the Employment Relations Amendment Bill before Parliament is a ‘moderate, centre right law’.
Changes will allow employers to walk away from collective bargaining if it’s not working, Mr Bridges says.
“Frankly, at the Ports of Auckland where you have medieval war of attrition basically where the last person standing gets to right the rules. It goes on forever,” he told TVNZ’s Q+A programme today.
Mr Bridges conceded that the amendments are ‘fairer for employers”. But that was a shift back from the ‘significant move to the left’ of the last Labour administration’s Employment Relations Act. ‘We are simply moderating that,” he said.
“If we have more fair, more flexible law, it creates more efficiency and productivity and flows through to profits and actually is the best, most sustainable way of getting higher wages for workers. “
He was confident the government would have the numbers to pass the bill, despite Peter Dunne’s resignation on Friday.
“This is MMP politics. We work with what we’ve got,” he said.
Former National Party President Michelle Boag says every time this government makes changes to labour laws, “The unions cry it’s going to be the end of the world and I think they’ve just got to the point where they’re crying wolf. I don’t think the world is going to end with these changes either. I think it’s just part of the gradual development of our labour market and our labour market is becoming much more flexible.”
Former Labour Party President Mike Williams says the changes are “part of a pattern of relentless downward pressure on wages by this government, and it’ll end in tears”.
Mr Williams says this is a bosses’ government, “The core of Simon Bridges’ argument, and I’m normally quite impressed with him, is nonsense – that by reducing wages, you will ultimately increase wages.”
Watch Simon Bridges' interview here.