Gerry Brownlee: The “employers’ representative”

by frog

Radio NZ reports

…Minister of Economic Development Gerry Brownlee indicated the Government may be prepared to clarify employment laws to try to keep the production in New Zealand. 

He told Morning Report the Government would consider the issues raised in a Supreme Court case. 

“In other words, can we determine the difference between an employee and a contractor in a way that makes clear that the sort of industrial action that has been threatened by the union can’t be carried through.” 

Mr Brownlee said New Zealand actors need to distance themselves from the Australian-based Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), which is linked to New Zealand Actors’ Equity. 

Let’s play that again, Gerry: 

“…actors need to distance themselves from the Australian-based Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), which is linked to New Zealand Actors’ Equity” 

If an employer or an employer’s representative made a statement like this, it would be in serious breach of prohibition of duress under the Employment Relations Act. But Gerry can say it anyway – unless he’s acting as the “employer’s representative”, which maybe he is. It sure sounds like it. Perhaps we need an Official Information Act request about his communications to and from Warner Bros to determine that. 

The law as to who is an employee and who is a contractor is very clear. It has been addressed and determined by the final arbiter of New Zealand law - the Supreme Court. 

Gerry Brownlee is cynically manipulating this industrial dispute to attempt to further undermine the rights of employees, and if Gordon Campbell is correct (I couldn’t find another reference), Brownlee is even threatening to use the anti-democratic Major Events Management Act to do so without reference to Parliament. 

Mainstream working New Zealanders have a lot to fear from this Government, which is increasingly attempting to dump the impact of its failure to revive our economy on ordinary working New Zealanders who just want a fair go. Let’s all hang together, and not let bad employers and their Government “representatives” pick us off – one, by one.

frog says

Published in Economy, Work, & Welfare by frog on Sat, October 23rd, 2010   

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