Patrick Lee-Lo, president of Building Service Contractors of New Zealand (BSCNZ), has warned that cleaning industry workers will be more vulnerable following recommended changes to Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act.
‘A select committee has recommended that amendments to the act be passed including a change exempting small companies employing fewer than 20 employees from complying with Part 6A when contracts change,’ stated a 13 December press release.
“Part 6A was intended to protect vulnerable workers but instead it is likely to result in jobs being lost,” said Lee-Lo. “Under the proposed legislation, smaller companies taking over a contract will be able to circumvent the law, avoiding costs and responsibilities that other employers face. They will not be obliged to take on the existing workers and the outgoing companies are unlikely to have positions for them elsewhere.”
Lee-Lo noted that, in a contracting environment, the amendment would create an uneven playing field between competing companies, discriminating against companies with 19-plus staff.
“We had advocated strongly throughout the submission process for one law for all and had highlighted the potential impact on workers and the industry,” said Lee-Lo. “What we are now facing is a law which is intended to protect vulnerable workers but could end up having precisely the opposite effect.
“We generally welcome the majority of changes reported back by the Select Committee to clarify obligations on contracting out and change of contract situations,” he continued. “However, it is to be hoped that significant problem around Part 6A and some other remaining technical issues will be addressed in the balance of the Parliamentary process.”