Call for Iwi leaders to fight for workers' rights

By Maiki Sherman

A challenge has been laid by the Māori MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti who is calling on iwi leaders to stand up and fight for workers' rights.

Tonight, the Employment Relations Amendment Bill will be debated in Parliament, and could see the removal of statutory tea-breaks for workers and diminish collective bargaining.

The Labour Party has been hammering the Government for some time over changes to worker rights. Now the Māori caucus is calling on the Iwi Leaders Forum.

The current employment law includes a half hour lunch break and two ten minute tea breaks.

However, under the proposed changes the statutory obligation for tea breaks will be removed, allowing employers and employees to agree on compensatory measures.

Meka Whaitiri says Māori will be among those heavily impacted and the onus should be on Iwi leaders to fight for them.

Haami Piripi is the chairman of Te Rarawa and member of the Iwi Chairs Forum. He's taken up the challenge.

Another major part of the changes would see the obligation for employers to complete collective bargaining removed.

Once the bill completes the committee stage it'll then move forward to third reading where it'll pass into law.