Collectively.Thinking – March 2022

Mar 31, 2022

Poof – and that’s the first quarter gone already!  End of Financial Year for many and time to consider the environmental pressures affecting our people for the rest of the year.  Here is a summary of March industrial relations events and commentary affecting the wider environment that we’re currently operating in.

1.  March Industrial Relations Activity

  • E tū members at Winstone Pulp have ratified their new agreement for 4.5% + 4.5% over 24 months.
  • FIRST union members at Chep settle after two weeks of strike action.
  • E tū members who are Air New Zealand trainers have been bargaining for more than two years and are taking strike action from 22 March.
  • The DHBs filed for a last minute injunction to stop strike action to be taken by 10,000 allied health professionals on March 4th.  Facilitation is ongoing in this matter and PSA members in Southland have been picketing every Friday on their lunch break.
  • E tū hospital members employed as service workers have ratified their MECA with the DHBs. The settlement includes the Living Wage and a three year term.
  • Seeka, the largest kiwifruit grower in NZ, has claimed that it’s employees earn up to $60/hour, which is being refuted by FIRST union.
  • E tū members at NZ Starch have ratified their agreement for 5% + 6% for two years. The bargaining period included an overtime ban over a number of weekends.

2. Consumer confidence continues to drop

Westpac’s latest consumer confidence report has fallen to its lowest levels since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.  Confidence is down across all regions, ages and genders across the country, with women more likely to feel the pinch of the pressure on household finances.  For those of us preparing for collective bargaining, it’s important to consider this in our planning as many of our people may be feeling the pressure more than most!

3. Fair Pay Agreements

The much talked about and long-promised Fair Pay Agreements Bill has finally been tabled in Parliament.  The summary in the link is from Russell McVeagh and outlines all the key points.  The Government is now under pressure to deliver on the election promise of the past two elections before next year.  There is still a long road ahead, through the Select Committee process and multiple readings, but indications are that the legislation will pass before the end of the year and first agreements will get underway in the first quarter of 2023.  Everyone, including myself, has an opinion on it, so please reach out if you would like to discuss.

4.  Pay Fairness in Capuchin Monkeys

This Ted talk from Frans de Waal is about moral behaviour in animals.  The final experiment in this video is about about pay fairness.  It is one of my favourite demonstrations of how you can have two working alongside each other, and the results of rewarding them differently.  Plus I got to use this super cute picture of a monkey.

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