30 Oct 2013

Tea break protests held against employment law changes

4:15 pm on 30 October 2013

Workers are taking part in protest tea breaks on Wednesday to demonstrate against the Government's proposed changes to employment laws.

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) says more than 900 workplaces registered for the event in milk factories, schools, supermarkets, hospitals, factories and universities.

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill before Parliament plans to give increased rights to employers in a move the Government says will make employment relations fairer.

CTU secretary Peter Conway says the bill attacks even the most basic rights by taking away paid tea breaks.

But the Employers and Manufacturers Association believes the proposed changes will work better for employees.

Spokesperson David Lowe says the current law has a very strict schedule that says people must have certain breaks at certain times after working certain hours - which doesn't provide much flexibility.

Mr Lowe says under the proposed bill, people will still be able to take breaks - they can just choose to trade them in for allowances. He says paid breaks are not under threat at all under the bill.