24 Jun 2011

Labour calls on employers' group head to resign

4:05 pm on 24 June 2011

The Labour Party is calling for the leader of the country's biggest employers' group to resign after he suggested some women are paid less than men because they regularly take time off because of their periods.

Employers and Manufacturers Association Northern chief executive Alasdair Thompson has apologised for any offence caused by his remarks, but stands by the reasons for making them.

He says in general, women take more sick days because once a month they have what he called sick problems and because they have children to look after.

Labour MP Carol Beaumont says Mr Thompson should resign. She hopes employers let Mr Thompson know they don't share his views and that they value all their employees regardless of their gender.

The Green Party says Mr Thompson's comments have undermined the group's credibility.

Green MP Sue Kedgley describes Mr Thompson's views as Neanderthal. She says he is an embarrassment to the employers he represents and they should be questioning his leadership.

An Auckland City councillor and the chair of the Auckland Business Advisory Panel, Cameron Brewer, says Mr Thompson's comments were stupid and ill-judged.

But he says Mr Thompson has made a massive contribution to the Employers and Manufacturers Association and business in New Zealand.

A spokesperson for the association says a board meeting will be held in the next few days.