Saturday, February 18, 2006

Employment Law Kiwi Style

In the 1980s New Zealand led the way in free market economics. Roger Douglas (pic right) and Richard Prebble (pic left) trailblazed privatisation and deregulation which countries round the world were to emulate. And they were ministers in a Labour government. When Labour decided to ditch these policies they formed their own Party, ACT. Under the government of Helen Clark there has been much backsliding and I was interested to read on the excellent Kiwi Blog about a new labour relations law which the government wishes to introduce. Here's David Farrer's take on it.

In 2000 the Government introduce the Employment Relations Bill. It was a draconian bill and the huge uproar from employers saw many of its worst provisions deleted before it was passed. Then in their second term Labour brought in amendments that reintroduced many of the draconian aspects they had relucantly dropped in 2000. And then again after an uproar the select committee took out some of the worst aspects. But now into the third term they are going for it again. How the law will work under this change is as follows. Say you have a small to medium sized business. And you employ a cleaning firm to clean your premises. Now let's say after a year you have had crap service from the firm. The cleaners don't do a proper job, they often forget to do stuff etc and you sack the cleaning firm after you find a new cleaning firm. However the new cleaning firm will be forced by law to hire the very same staff that were doing such a lousy job at the old cleaning firm!!

Echoes of state socialism at its worst. No doubt it's the sort of thing the TUC would like to see introduced here.


Anonymous said...


We do already have this here don't we? I believe the TUPE regulations require employment of existing individuals when things like this happen?

Iain Dale said...

Yes we do have TUPE, but I don't think that's the same as what's being proposed here, which ones a stage further.

The Pedant-General said...

But this is clearly nonsense.

What if, as a business, I change my bank? Or my auditors? Or my taxi account? What if another cleaning company came up with some super whizzy new device that did twice the work in half the time, but required some specialist operators?

How on earth can anyone even begin to think that this is even remotely sensible?

What problem is this legislation trying to solve?

Do any of these people have any brain at all?

Timothy said...

This sounds completely mad, I wonder if the people who suggest these changes to employment law have any idea of the real world implications beyond the family/friends they're trying to help out with ammendments like this?