Thursday, 8 July 2021

Anti-democratic, anti-freedom FPAs must be scrapped


“Labour’s plan for compulsory unionism is anti-democratic and anti-freedom and it must be scrapped,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Labour has been told by its officials that so-called ‘Fair Pay’ Agreements would wreck the economy and undermine freedom of association.

“Michael Wood will no doubt ignore this advice and push ahead with his radical plan in order to help his union mates. The unions can only recruit New Zealanders by forcing them to join.

“MBIE asked the Government to dump FPAs because there’s no problem to solve and because the plan carries the ‘significant risk of setting up a system which has net overall costs’.

“The most basic questions any government must itself ask are: What’s the problem we’re trying to solve? Will the benefits outweigh the costs? Labour has asked neither question.

“MBIE warned the Government that FPAs will ‘reduce employer and labour market flexibility and productivity growth’, ‘result in terms and conditions which mean employers’ abilities to compete, adapt to changing market conditions or innovate may be lessened’, and ‘impact on competition if some employers cannot afford to comply with the new standard and exit the market, or may choose to not enter due to the new barriers to entry’.

“Why would Labour take a wrecking ball to the economy after a pandemic and a recession?

“The OECD has said FPAs could ‘weaken the link between individual performance, wages and working conditions, and could negatively impact productivity growth’ and there would be ‘particular risks if the FPA model does not retain significant freedom to determine terms and conditions at the enterprise level’.

“Officials also warned of non-compliance with domestic law and international legal obligations:

‘Affected parties will be represented during bargaining by unions or employer organisation respectively. FPAs could therefore be seen to undermine rights to freedom of association’.

‘…no opportunity for employers to opt out of bargaining, which may conflict with International Labour Organisation interpretations of fundamental labour principles and rights relating to freedom of association, voluntary collective bargaining and the right to strike.’

“‘Fair Pay’ Agreements are far more radical than anything Labour has proposed before. Labour said FPAs would appear in ‘one or two industries.’ Now it’s eight. FPAs would allow any industry to have compulsory unionism forced on it by one-in-ten workers from day one.

“FPAs will be a wrecking ball on the economy and they don’t solve any identified problem.

“Union organisers make up 30 percent of Labour’s caucus but just 0.026 percent of the general population. New Zealanders have voted against unions with their membership which have gone from 70 percent to 20 percent over the past 30 years. Why should the rest of New Zealand have unionism forced on them because of Labour’s blind ideology?

“ACT will fight this plan. They’re a relic of the 1890s which have been dusted off purely to help Labour’s union mates. They will do nothing to advance hardworking middle New Zealanders.”