Collectively.Thinking – December 2022

Dec 31, 2022

Public sector activity is still dominating all industrial relations news for the end of the year.  The most notable settlement is FENZ, which was ratified prior to Christmas with a huge 97% voting in favour.  Fair Pay Agreements are now live too, and three industries have been selected by unions to start the process.

Summarised here with links included for your light reading.

1.  December Industrial Relations Activity

  • Three of the eight universities have ratified collective agreements with their employers – University of Otago, University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Kindergarten staff across the country have rejected the government’s offer on their collective agreement.
  • University of Auckland staff continued and extended their ban on releasing student marks until December 8th. A student-led petition supports this action.  Bargaining will continue into the new year. 
  • FENZ and the firefighters’ union have reached settlement, which includes an increase backdated to 2021. A full summary can be read here.
  • PPTA members have rejected the government’s offer for settlement of the secondary principals’ and secondary teachers’ collective agreements and the area school teachers’ and area school principals’ collective agreements, and voted for strike action in Term 1 2023.
  • Oji Fibre Solutions issued a pre-Christmas lockout notice to union members at its Penrose-site.
  • FIRST and Fletcher EasySteel have settled their agreement with an 8.75% increase.
  • A new offer has been put to the Primary Teachers, Primary Principals and Area School Principals which will all be voted on at the end of February 2023.

2. Pay equity for Te Whatu Ora nurses

The ERA has granted an interim order to commence new pay rates agreed for nurses from 7 March 2023.  The challenge regarding backpay for this pay equity settlement is still ongoing.  New public hospital nurses will be now starting on par with their Australian counterparts, and many nurses are set to get an increase of 14% or more.

3. Fair Pay Agreements

The Fair Pay Agreements bill has been passed into law and became effective on 1 December 2022.  The unions have begun the process for initiating an agreement in three key industries – hospitality, bus drivers and supermarkets

Does the 8-hour workday still exist

4. NZ Industrial Relations History

The Great Strike of 1913 began in late October and was called off on 22nd December 1913 when the United Federation of Labour conceded defeat.  The two-month struggle had involved up to 16,000 unionists around the country and was actually a series of strikes that began with two small disputes.  The strike began with watersiders’ and miners’ unions. They were later joined by seamen, drivers and builders’ labourers.  The last of the employees returned to work in mid-January 2014.

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