Collectively.Thinking – October 2021

Oct 31, 2021

Welcome to this edition of Collectively.Thinking, where we round up articles and stories from the previous month that we have found interesting – relating to industrial relations, business, human resources and the economy.

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1.  October Industrial Relations News

  • NZNO Nurses accepted the DHB offer with a firm majority. This is a two-year agreement to be backdated to 1 August 2020. Pay equity discussions are still ongoing.
  • The union representing Primary School and ECE teachers – NZEI – are supporting the Government’s vaccine mandate.
  • A new minimum rate for all Silver Fern Farms employees of $24 per hour has been agreed with the Meat Workers Union – an increase of almost 10% – as part of broader approaches to making the organisation a more attractive option to job seekers.
  • Lyttleton Port Company and MUNZ, RMTU and AWUNZ have signed an agreement committing to the High Performance High Engagement.

2. Uber Drivers’ case goes to the Employment Court

The first story (to 7m47s) on this Radio New Zealand tech update is about the court case the E tū and FIRST Union have taken to the Employment Court asking for drivers to be categorised as employees instead of self-employed contractors. The UK Supreme Court decision could be quite influential in New Zealand as there is common ground in our legal systems. It will be complex and set a really significant outcome for many other industries.

3. Biggest annual CPI jump in over a decade

CPI for the year to September 2021 has been released at 4.9%, this is the biggest jump since June 2011 at 5.3%. Housing-related costs, food prices and transport costs were significant contributors to this figure.

4.  Planet Money ‘Indicators of the Week’ Podcast

This podcast comes from NPR in the US, and while they’re talking about US economic indicators for the week, there are many parallels that can be drawn to NZ – unprecedented high CPI, media hyping people up to do Christmas shopping in October citing ‘supply chain problems and the increase in industrial action in the US. This last point is not what we’re seeing in New Zealand, but the strikes are related to pressures felt by labour shortages and the leverage that unions currently have as a result, which are indicators that we need to watch here.

5. Does the 8-hour workday still exist?

This month, I reflected on the origins of Labour Day. I do this every year because it is part of the key union historical events in New Zealand, but being still in lockdown however many weeks in, it just feels a little different this year.

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