Labour diversion #2 – they won’t ditch the 90 Day Trial

Labour have long criticised the 90 Day Trial employment legislation. Andrew Little has spoken strongly against it, as detailed by James at The Standard:

“”We don’t need the 90-day law and under Labour it will go.”
Source – https://www.labour.org.nz/media/90-day-law-sees-more-workers-shown-door

“Labour would, however, not back away from its plans to change employment law, including scrapping the 90-day trial period for new employees.”

– Radio NZ

“Later Little told reporters Labour still opposed the 90 day trial, which many small businesses liked …..”

– Interest.co.nz

So it surprised many when Andrew Little said that Labour would leave the 90 Day Trial legislation apart from tweaking it a bit.

Stuff reports: Labour would retain 90-day trial periods, but make them fairer – Little

Andrew Little appears to have made an about turn on labour law reform, ruling out abolishing the 90-day trial period for workers.

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has called on Labour to clarify its position and the Government is accusing Little of “weasel words”.

At a breakfast in Upper Hutt on Friday, Little was asked about Labour’s position on 90 day trial period, in which employers can dismiss workers.

“Our policy is to add a fairness requirement,” Little said.

The question frequently came up from employers, Little said, with every employer indicating they already gave feedback to any worker they let go, so they would not be affected under Labour’s policy.

“We just want to make a requirement to give feedback so the person knows whether they’re on track to make the grade or not.”

Asked afterwards if that meant that the trial periods would certainly stay, Little said: “Well we wouldn’t be talking about making the 90 day trial periods fairer if we were going to get rid of it.”

Any changes would not have a significant impact on employers, Little said.

“There won’t be any new onerous obligations in that regard, but it will make it fairer and we will write that into law.”

Helen Kelly was carefully critical:

CTU president Helen Kelly called for clarification.

“Making it fairer gets rid of it, right? He needs to clarify that,” Kelly said.

“We would expect them to effectively get rid of them by making unfair dismissals unlawful.”

Kelly said the 90-day trial periods allowed workers to be dismissed for reasons which would otherwise not be fair, without giving the worker the option of taking a personal grievance claim.

If Labour introduced “just cause” provisions to the trials to allow personal grievances, the CTU could accept that, as this returned to the earlier rules in existing laws covering probationary periods.

“But if what they’re saying is modifying [the trials] to simply allow unfair dismissal, but you’ve got to give reasons, then that certainly, as far as I’m aware, is totally against their [Labour’s] position in the past and would be unacceptable to us, totally unacceptable,” Kelly said.

Reaction wasn’t pretty from some at The Standard.

Charles:

This is pretty amazing. I thought there was no way they’d try to go right, because, well, they couldn’t. But no, no hurdle is too impossible, they are actually going to try to become the National Party while National still exist. I can imagine Key leaning over to Nathan Guy and saying, “They… they can see us here, right?”

So, let’s talk about the Green Party. hahaa

Rosie:

I know. Absolutely f-ing unbelievable.

I did not become a Labour Party member to support anti worker bullshit like the 90 day law.

Karen:

Please send this post (at 20.3) to Little, Rosie.

Everybody who is enraged at this needs to start lobbying now.

Etc.

And there’s flip-flop reaction from Young Labour and Young Nats:

Young Labour on Facebook:

We think the 90-day trial period is unfair, and it needs to go. Do you?

And on Twitter:

We are deeply concerned by ‘s comments that he will keep the 90-day trial period.

Meanwhile Young Nats were quick to respond:

Sometimes we end up agreeing on things and it isn’t so bad, .

Embedded image permalink

Labour have had a remarkable week.

And all may not be well inside.

Darien Fenton

Um : the policy says : “Labour will restore workers’ right to contest dismissals during the first 90 days of employment by abolishing the current government’s Fire At Will law” I think the ambiguity surrounding Andrew’s comments today are a PR problem that needs sorting quick smart.

Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Anthony has posted on this at The Standard. It should be an interesting discussion, with some defence and also harsh attack.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/labour-on-fire-at-will

    Reply
  2. Missy

     /  18th July 2015

    I saw at TS yesterday that one of the first comments after this hit the media was basically calling for Little to be sacked.

    I think this and the tax announcement are twofold:

    1. Labour is trying to appeal to the centre, and small business in particular – so it is good that Little seems to be listening to some people’s concerns, and

    2. He is trying to divert attention from the debacle of the Chinese surname idiocy,

    In my view the big problem Labour have had this week is a lot more about communication than what they are trying to say, and as they keep trying to explain it away it starts sounding worse for them. They also don’t seem to have done their research very well, first with the foreign investors and now with the tax.

    I think the next polls will be interesting, and also interesting in how TS deal with it, I think there may be a bit of a bump on the back of the tax and 90 day trial announcements, but they could potentially lose on the Auckland housing issue.

    Reply
  3. Brilliant placement! Labour diversion #1 and #2 just before flag stuff. You know, flag stuff = Gold Standard diversion #1.

    Reply

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