Unions empowered to ban extremists

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From the beginning of the new year, trade unions are now permitted to exclude "political extremists" from membership. The new rules, part of the Employment Relations Act 2004, "widen the ability of trade unions to exclude and expel individuals for political activities which are contrary to their rules or objectives."

Previously, unions attempting to exclude extremists (including members of political organisations advocating violence, or with racist agendas), were vulnerable to legal action.

Employment Relations Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said in a statement, "Unions have been unfairly penalised by the law when acting against political agitators who join their ranks and then proceed to undermine their policies. In particular, there have been notable cases where unions have been required to pa...

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