Sunday, 22 June 2008

Now Labour decides to improve the rights of casual workers

The Labour-led government is moving to improve the rights of casual workers, who’ve been dreadfully treated over the last quarter-century in New Zealand. But why has it taken Helen Clark's government nine years to address this festering issue, which unions have been constantly agitating about? Are unions been thrown a bone with which to try and encourage low paid and casualised workers to vote Labour? It looks like a cynical move to try and shore up support from traditional Labour supporters whose commitment is weakening.
CTU MEDIA RELEASE 22 June 2008 Work rights getting better for casuals "The rights at work for casual workers are about to get better, and no party should stand it the way of this much needed law change," Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said today. The government today announced plans to beef up Employment Relations Act protections for temporary and casual workers, and run an awareness campaign to make sure casuals were aware of their rights. "There have been significant real improvements for workers in this country over the last 8 years but many of the new improvements have been denied to large numbers of workers because of the misuse by employers of casual employment relationships. That makes these changes extremely significant and important," Helen Kelly said. "There is an army of casual employees, often low paid workers, many of whom are totally insecure about their terms of employment, their hours of work, their entitlements to sick leave and holidays and their employment status in relation to any workplace problems." "The insecurity of their employment makes it difficult for them to assert their rights, and also effects many other aspects of their lives in areas like housing stability, access to loans and superannuation savings." "Of course there are instances of genuine casuals where the arrangements are necessary in normal business operations. However there are many workers who are classified as casuals when in fact they are expected to turn up to work on a regular basis and really are no different from a permanent workers." "The changes announced today will be a real help for casual and temporary workers to get the rights at work that the rest of the workforce have won. The CTU has been involved in this process and are pleased with the outcomes, and we acknowledge NZ First Deputy Leader Peter Brown’s strong advocacy for casual workers." "We expect all political parties that believe in fairness at work to support this move, or tell casual and temporary workers why they should go without their rights at work," Helen Kelly said.

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