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NZUSA: Bill Bad for Students

Matthew Pritchard



The Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment bill will be detrimental to students, according to a National Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) verbal submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations select committee made just over a week ago.
The bill allows for a “probationary period” of 90 days, throughout which personal grievance procedures will not apply for new workers.
NZUSA Co-President Joey Randall says the the bill will negatively affect students as many seek employment over the three month summer period.
Sue Maroney, a Labour MP, asked Co-President Conor Roberts at the select committee hearing if he thought that this legislation would provide a disincentive for university lecturers to change institutions. Roberts admits that he had not thought about that angle, but that this was another compelling reason not to adopt this legislation.
However National MP Wayne Mapp, who is sponsoring the bill, says that issue could be counteracted during contract negotiations. He says the probationary period is not compulsory and must be agreed to by both parties.
Roberts is sceptical that university administrators would simply allow it to be negotiated out of the contract.
Several amendments to the bill are currently being considered, such as making the probationary period only 30 days for short term contracts, such as students working over summer.