Proposed ‘Fair Pay Agreements’

The new Government is proposing Fair Pay Agreements that will not allow industry wide strikes but will be decided by arbitration if the parties (employers and unions) can’t agree.

NZH: Industry-wide strikes impossible under Fair Pay Agreements

The Government is giving assurances that industry-wide strikes will not be possible under its proposed Fair Pay Agreements, which would set minimum standards across entire industries.

The agreements represent a major change to the workplace and have been hailed by unions, but criticised by the National Party as taking industrial relations back to the 1970s.

Discussions on Fair Pay Agreements will include unions and businesses, with legislation being introduced within 12 months as part of other changes, including:

• double the number of labour inspectors to 110 (cost of $9m)

• abolish youth rates

• look at ensuring proper pay for those who work over 40 hours a week

• look at improving job security for casual and seasonal workers

There’s some fairly contentious things in that.

Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has assured businesses that the agreements – which could include pay rates, weekend rates, hours per week – would not allow workers to have industry-wide strikes.

“Business NZ was very concerned about industry-wide strike action, so there will be no mechanism for striking if you’re pursuing a Fair Pay Agreement.

“The flipside is that if the parties can’t agree, there will need to be some form of arbitration to make a final decision.”

So ‘some form of arbitration’ could be used to make ‘a final decision’ on ‘proper pay rates’ and job security.

Pay rates and job conditions could be imposed industry-wide.

I think more detail is required to see how radical this could be.

Lees-Galloway has a union background – prior to becoming an MP he worked for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation as an organiser and later as a publicity coordinator.

I presume that NZ First will be bound by joint Cabinet responsibility to support any changes to labour laws.

Being outside Cabinet Greens won’t, but this sounds like the sort of thing they might support anyway.

13 Comments

  1. unitedtribes2

     /  November 3, 2017

    So ‘some form of arbitration’ could be used to make ‘a final decision’ on ‘proper pay rates’ and job security.

    Likely to be the same arbitrators as the employment court. Not a great time to be an employer

  2. Given that teachers have already said they want something like a 14% pay increase next year and nurses are likely to also have their hands out for more I wonder if this has been costed in Labour’s fiscal plans.

    • I wonder, too-I don’t think.

    • artcroft

       /  November 3, 2017

      I imagine Labour will be able to find an arbitrator to say no to teachers, nurses and police. While the they will allow the unions will find arbitrators who say yes to pay raises to those who don’t work in the civil service.

  3. Gerrit

     /  November 3, 2017

    Yep, this arbitration panel is going to be mighty powerful. Wonder if it will bew staffed by unionists or pragmatists.

    With only 17% wanting to be part of the union movement this compulsion to unionism could well backfire on the government.

    No strikes? Hahahah only until the unions say there will be some if the arbitrator panels does not provide what the unions want.

    This is going to turn into a right royal mess.

    Imagine the Cook Straight ferries. Arbitrator decides sets a range of pay and conditions that the unionised crews on the Interislander ships don’t like. Will they abide by the arbitrator decision? Will they strike? Will the Bluebridge crews keep working?

    Could be few picket lines strung across work place gates as non unionised labour will be prevented from working.

    Bigger popcorn kettle needed with this government. .

    • Remember how the ferry unions used to go on strike at the times likely to cause most inconvenience ? They did the same in the UK, of course, and there it was even more inconvenient-people were stuck in another country. This happened to my brother-in-law and his family who were stuck in France and had to fly back-at the most expensive rates, of course.

  4. PDB

     /  November 3, 2017

    Kiwiblog: “This is the most radical change in labour laws in a generation. The law is that all collective agreements must be agreed to by both employers and unions. This changes that – it means employers no longer need agree.

    These changes are all about lining the pockets of unions, who can then increase their funding of the Labour Party.”

    • Oh, Pants-surely not ! What a gross injustice !

      I see trouble ahead at t’mill if that law comes in.

      People are not happy with the idea that their property could be siezed for building houses that other people can afford to buy. I can’t see this appalling law being any more popular.

      I was interested to hear the bus driver saying that he saw no point in coughing up $7 a week for the union when he’d get the benefits anyway 🙂

  5. Norman Grey

     /  November 3, 2017

    Many people are beginning to realise what the implications are likely to be with the elections of this tri-party Govt. Does anyone have any idea when the next opinion poll is due so we can
    see that the stardust is turning to common grot and all the fantasy ideas are turning into nightmares.

    • Conspiratoor

       /  November 3, 2017

      Why do you need a poll to tell you what your brain has been hard wired to think

  6. Fight4NZ

     /  November 3, 2017

    Another well conceived, inventive and ingenious development of policy by the new government. Dragging our employment legislation back out of feudal times and reintroducing civilised negotiations with some parity between the parties and a pressure release mechanism. Coupled with minimum wage changes, huge strides in morale and motivation will see the long overdue boost to productivity. We can only hope the timing is fortuitous enough to counteract weaning off the crippling addiction to the residential house price bubble economy we are left with by the parsimonious efforts of the previous under performers.
    Yes, there is new hope for the nurses, teachers, police, conservation workers and other professionals who carried the lions share of the load to manufacture the virtual surpluses of recent times.
    The pall is lifting!

  1. Proposed ‘Fair Pay Agreements’ — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition