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Business NZ 'tarnish NZ's reputation attacking human rights'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

As part of the global day of action in defence of workers’ right to strike, the CTU is calling on Business New Zealand to stop campaigning to undermine basic human rights when it represents New Zealand at the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Business New Zealand is part of a campaign by international business lobbies to see the right to strike removed from international labour law.

"The right for a worker to safely withdraw their labour is fundamental to ensuring fair and decent work standards," says CTU Secretary, Sam Huggard. "I think most Kiwi businesses respect their employees and I do not think they would support Business New Zealand’s attack on employee’s human rights in other countries."

Business New Zealand has been part of a transnational campaign to obstruct the ILO hearing the worst cases of human rights abuse against workers, holding the process to ransom until governments and unions concede that the right to strike shouldn’t be protected by ILO Conventions.

"There are many countries where workers who take strike action find themselves imprisoned, persecuted and even killed," says Huggard. "Brave workers from countries like Colombia and Guatemala have travelled to the ILO to be heard, only to return home denied a chance to speak and exposed to even greater risk of persecution when they get back."

CTU has raised its concerns with Business New Zealand directly. Now, as Business New Zealand prepares to travel to the ILO in Geneva at the end of February, the CTU has set up an online tool so members of the public can email 20 of Business New Zealand’s largest members, make them aware of what Business New Zealand has been doing in their name and ask them to tell Business New Zealand to stop.

Already more than 20,000 email messages have been sent.

"Business New Zealand has been deeply involved in the strategy. All New Zealanders - employers and employees - will want to stop our proud international reputation being tarnished further."

The CTU’s online tool is available at

The CTU’s action coincides with activity around the world on the 18th of February, including events in South Korea, Argentina, Switzerland, Colombia, Israel, France, Latvia, Albania, Slovakia, Morocco, Thailand, Bangladesh, Botswana, Ecuador, Cambodia, Pakistan, Philippines, Paraguay, Indonesia, Canada, Hong Kong and Turkey.

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