2015 news

Read news releases and research updates from CLEW in 2015.

CLEW'd IN Newsletters 2014/15

Research update: redundancy provisions in collective agreements – trends in the period 2003-2015

Report from Sue Ryall and Stephen Blumenfeld

Although rarely found in individual employment agreements, collective employment agreements (CEAs) negotiated in New Zealand typically include provisions dealing with the employer’s obligations and employee’s entitlements arising from redundancy. To this end, as we’ve reported in our annual publication Employment Agreements: Bargaining Trends and Employment Law Update, in each of the last twelve years there has been little change from one year to the next in the redundancy provisions for employees covered by collective agreements.

Despite this, an examination of redundancy clauses of our data across that timeframe shows, in fact, there have been some interesting changes in redundancy compensation entitlements which took place between June 2003 to June 2015.

Redundancy provisions – trends in the period 2003-2015 pdf475KB

Legal update: the New Zealand meat workers union & AFFCO New Zealand Limited

The NZ Meat Workers Union & AFFCO New Zealand Limited continue to keep the Employment Court busy. Carol Jess, PhD Student at Victoria University of Wellington and a student associate of CLEW provides a summary of happenings in the last two months.

The NZ Meat Workers Union & AFFCO New Zealand Limited keep the Employment Court busy pdf401KB

UK and European governments take different approaches to employment relations

Some observations from Stephen Blumenfeld, Director of CLEW, currently on research and study leave in the UK and Europe

Although the viability of collective bargaining rests primarily on the autonomy of trade unions and employer organisations, government can and frequently does alter its rules. This is perhaps most true in parliamentary systems of government, in which the executive branch derives its legitimacy from and is accountable to the legislative branch, Parliament. In the UK, for instance, as in New Zealand, labour law seems to be a constantly moving feast, shifting along with the tides of electoral politics.

Changes to collective bargaining in Europe pdf155KB

MBIE and CLEW partner on collective agreements database

CLEW has recently reached an agreement with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to provide database services for the collective employment agreements submitted to the Ministry in compliance with Employment Relations Act 2000.

The CLEW database has operated since 1992 and we collect data on a wide range of provisions and calculate an annualised increment for the term of the agreement as part of our longitudinal research on employee provisions through collective agreements. Since 2000 collective agreements must be sent to the Registrar on Unions and until recent years the Ministry also collected data across a range of provisions. But the Ministry only needs a small range of data on the agreements (parties, industry, coverage, wage increments) for their reporting purposes and is now makes sense for CLEW to store the data for MBIE and produce the data reports required.

While many unions and some employers send all their agreements to both the Ministry and CLEW this is not always the case and CLEW will ensure that the agreements sent to MBIE are kept separately in our database and not used for our research unless we have the permission of one of the parties to the agreement.

However, we would like to be able to add all agreements to our database to provide a more comprehensive set of data for our research and to include in our annual reports in the Employment Agreements: Bargaining Trends and Employment Law Update. So if we receive an agreement from MBIE that we do not have in our data we will contact unions and/or employers for permission to include in our research. The data on specific agreements we collect for the CLEW database remain confidential to CLEW and only aggregated data is published or released to other parties. Copies of agreements are only released to the respective parties to the agreements or with permission of one of those parties.

This is an exciting new collaboration that will be of benefit to everyone involved.

Legal update: seasonal workers and collective bargaining

Content: The recent ruling of the Employment Court in New Zealand Meat Workers & Related Trades Union Inc and Roberta Kerewai Ratui and others v AFFCO New Zealand Limited [2015] NZEmpC 204 clarified the position of seasonal workers who continue to be employed by the same employer year on year. The case was concerned with a claim by the NZ Meat Worker’s Union that AFFCO had breached good faith during collective bargaining by locking out its members at the start of the season. AFFCO contended that the workers were ‘re-employed’ at the start of the new season and therefore were required to apply for new positions and agree to the terms of employment applicable at the start of the season.

Our colleagues at Kiely Thomson Caisley have reviewed the case for this month’s CLEW’d IN.

Paid paternity leave and recognition of the importance of fathers

Dr Amanda Reilly, School of Accounting and Commercial Law, VUW has been involved with research on gender equality, family and the New Zealand law and in this comment piece ‘Paid paternity leave and recognition of the importance of fathers’ questions why in the recent review of paid parental leave provisions that no apparent consideration has been given to a separate entitlement to paid paternity leave for fathers around the time of the birth.

Paid paternity leave and recognition of the importance of fathers pdf518KB

Research update — October

A study by Satya Duhita, as a Masters student in Victoria University’s School of Management, examines the effects of ‘loafing’ - paid work hours in which employees undertake personal activities such as making personal phone calls, non-work errands, social conversations with colleagues or accessing the internet, e-mails, and social network sites (SNS) for personal benefit. Her study challenges the general view held by managers and employers that such ‘loafing’ activity is a waste of paid working time and as detrimental to workers’ productivity.

Is Loafing at Work Necessarily Detrimental?pdf588KB by Satya Duhita and Urs Daellenbach

Research update — August 2015

The following articles are developed from the research papers of two current Victoria University School of Management Honours students who have examined current workplace issues.

Erin Roxburgh provides an interesting consideration of conscious and unconscious bias, an issue raised by Susan Doughty at the 'Achieving Pay Equity' seminar.

Hamish Crimp looks at bullying in the workplace and through a review of literature explores some of the ways organisations can deal with bullying.