The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Friday, May 13, 2005


National's policy releases of late (education and employment relations - are they doing them in alphabetical order?) have had a common thread of union-bashing woven in between the words. The main purpose of the detail seems to be to piss off any and all unions, rather than being about good policy or a vision for our country.

For just one example, DPF reckons probation is a fab idea. But National are not just introducing probation - they actually plan to make new employees vulnerable to harassment, discrimination and termination without reasonable grounds (or indeed any reason at all.)

If National want actual probation then they don't have to get rid of personal grievances for the first 90 days. They could merely insert a provision which makes it clear that fixed term agreements for the purposes of assessing suitability for a position are allowable.

By abolishing the right to raise a personal grievance regarding anything that happens in the first 90 days of their employment (that's three months folks - not a short period of time) National would deny workers any justice for unfair treatment in a new job.


Make Tea Not War said...

I thought "ensure employers and employees had the same rights in employment contracts;" was strange.

What on earth does it mean? Parties to an employment contract are essentially contracting for different things. At the most basic level the worker has a right to be paid and the employer has a right to require work. How can they have the same rights?

BerlinBear said...

It fits in with a number of National's other policies though. For them, it's all about "same" and fear of "different". Dr. Don wants Maori and Pakeha to be "the same", he wants New Zealand incomes and tax policy to be the "same" as Australia, same with defence policy. Same, same, same, same, same. Why would we expect National's employment relations policy to be any different?

stephen said...

This is fantastic! Does that mean I get to put terms and conditions in a separate policy manual (Stephen's personal Employee Handbook) which I can change unilaterally? Neat!

Ben Thomas said...

"they actually plan to make new employees vulnerable to harassment, discrimination and termination without reasonable grounds (or indeed any reason at all.)"

Yes to the termination without reasonable grounds. Remember though, that the vast majority of personal grievances are upheld based on procedural defects by the employer, rather than substantive errors.

As to the discrimination etc, unless National plans to amend the Human Rights Act, employees who were discriminated against or fired based on the prohibited grounds (sex, race, political belief etc) would still be able to bring a claim under that legislation, outside the employment institutions.

Similarly, bullying etc (not based on a prohibited ground of discrimination) may attract attention from OSH under
the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

National's proposed "no fault" period would only expedite the firing of incompatible or incompetent staff in the first three months, not empower employers to act like monsters.

Ben Thomas said...

And, of course, sexual harrassment is specifically dealt with in the Human Rights Act, too.

michael wood said...

Most PG's do not arise from discrimination or harrasment in a formal sense, but rather from unreasonable treatment resulting in some disadvantage to the employee - basically the employer behaving unfairly.

The National policy would remove the capacity of new employees to raise a grievance on these grounds. I fail to see how there is any justifiable ground to remove the right of a new employees to raise such issues.