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Fair Pay Agreement Legislation
Simon Bridges, MP for Tauranga, Scott Simpson, MP for Coromandel, Todd Muller, MP for Bay of Plenty
National supports our country’s employers to support people into work and we will repeal this new law when we form the next government. If you’d like to hear more about Opposition views on this subject, please come along to the public meeting I’m hosting with Hon Scott Simpson and Hon Simon Bridges at the Tauranga Sport Fishing Club at 6pm on Monday 28 June 2021.
It’s hard to recall a more challenging time for our country’s business owners. Here in Tauranga, more than 16,000 business owners each employ up to 20 staff. That is a large chunk of our populace dependent on small businesses for their livelihoods. The last twelve months have been especially difficult for employers dealing with lockdowns and the closure of our border to tourists while having to find the money for overheads not covered by wage subsidies.
Last month many employers had to increase their staff salaries due to minimum wage changes – even if they were not employing staff on the lowest rate, the flow on effect will impact their wage outgoings substantially. So it has come as quite a shock to business owners that the Government is now proposing a new threat to their staffing budget: the reintroduction of 1970s style interference in the workplace, helpful for the unions, but certainly not the people who actually create the jobs.
A collective pay agreement can incorporate even non-union members if 10% (or 1,000 members) of that industry want it. A small café can be impacted by a collective agreement if an award rate is forced onto baristas, for example. Even if those staff are not interested in negotiating, they’ll lose the right of consent to such an agreement and also the right to privacy as this law will require employers to give staff contact details to unions.
This “Fair Pay” law is a threat to job security if employers cannot find the money to pay higher government-imposed wages. It may be necessary to lay some staff off so employers can afford to pay a compulsory increase to others. With over 75,000 more New Zealanders on the unemployment benefit than when Labour took office, wouldn’t you would think the Government should help employers take on new staff, not lay them off?