Ports behind strike-breaking bill - Ross

Jamie-Lee Ross on The Nation

National Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross says he has discussed his strike-breaking bill with the Ports of Auckland.

His Employment Relations Amendment Bill, which was drawn from the ballot recently, would allow businesses to take on temporary employees during a lockout or strike.

Over 200 Maritime Union members at the Ports of Auckland held a series of crippling strikes and in turn were locked out during the summer of 2012.

Speaking on TV3’s “The Nation”, Labour’s Industrial relations spokesperson, Darien Fenton, described the actions of the port company during the dispute as “extremist”.

Also speaking on the programme, Mr Ross said he had discussed the bill with the Ports of Auckland when the dispute was in full swing.

“The Ports indicated that, during a strike, like every other organisation that is affected by a strike, they’re unable to keep their business going in the same manner that they did before.

“That has a big impact on the economy, and it has a bigger impact on the people who are employed.”

He said they had not made a comment on the move since the bill was drawn.

When asked whether the bill had its origins in the Ports of Auckland lock out, Mr Ross did not deny the suggestion.

“The prime minister actually highlighted that as a really good example of how a drawn-out strike can have quite a big impact on the wider economy.”

Mr Ross’ bill has met with opposition from Labour, the Greens, Mana, the Maori Party - and now Peter Dunne.

Labour’s spokeswoman on labour issues Darien Fenton called the bill an “extreme bill”.

“It’s going to encourage bad employers, and it’s going to help entrench low wages in New Zealand.”

She said that the Ports of Auckland dispute was a lockout, and that under Mr Ross’ bill, the employers could make demands, lock out their staff, and hire lower-paid, temporary workers.

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Just a boy politician who hasn't experienced what hard work really is. Your skills better suited in human resources.

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