New guidelines on workplace bullying issued by WorkSafe NZ today are unlikely to fix the problem while employment laws that are meant to protect workers from bullying behaviour are continually weakened by the government, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour issues Andrew Little says.
“The National government has eroded basic protections for workers over the last five years, including introducing the hated 90-day no rights period for new workers and watering down laws on personal grievances.
“The 90-day no rights laws allow employers to hire a new worker on the condition they can be sacked within the first 90 days of the job without having to give a reason.
“Meanwhile the law on personal grievance has also been changed so that the employer’s subjective views and prejudices carry more weight than a truly objective consideration of the circumstances.
“There is no point in wondering why workplace bullying – estimated to affect one in five – now warrants guidelines from our health and safety enforcement body. The law gives employers the ability to treat workers how they like, and bad employers are happy to oblige.
“Workplace bullying generally arises where there is poor leadership and a bad culture, and only management can fix these things by setting an example and ensuring people are treated fairly and with dignity.
“Far too many employers fail this test.
“Labour will abolish the 90-day no rights law and enhance workers’ right to fair treatment.”