The role of New Zealand employers at the International Labour Organisation has been completely misrepresented by the CTU, says BusinessNZ.
Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says the role of BusinessNZ at the ILO is to contribute to a consensus position by employer representatives of more than 150 countries.
The CTU’s role is similar for employee representatives from those countries represented at the ILO.
A large debate has occurred about a report of a technical committee concerning the legitimacy of strike action in support of political or social issues that may have nothing to do with the workplace concerned.
Employers around the world have always believed that decisions around the legality of strike action should be made at the national, not international level.
The technical committee report suggested that such rights should be established internationally and that they should allow strike action to take place in support of political and social matters.
BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said it was unlikely that New Zealanders would agree that strike action should be provided for in law over issues that had nothing to do with the workplace, for example political disagreements in Myanmar or North Korea.
“Widening the scope of potential industrial action in this way could mean local businesses destroyed and jobs lost over debates that have nothing to do with the employers and employees concerned.”
As a result of the debate the ILO conference was unable to hear the scheduled debate about alleged abuse of employer and employee organisations in countries such as Fiji and Venezuela.
However, consensus has been now reached, which involved a re-examination of the reporting of abuse against employer and employee organisations along with the acknowledgement of employer concerns about the workings of the technical committee.
Mr O’Reilly expressed surprise at the CTU’s statement given it was made after consensus had been achieved between employers, workers and governments at the conference and the debate rescheduled.