Collectively.Thinking – October 2023

Oct 31, 2023

Elections, elections, elections. 

That was what dominated the October headlines, and where we sit currently in November, we’re still waiting to find out the exact shape of the government and what their 100-day plan will be.  We do have some indications on this, and I’ve included a reference to National and Act’s employment highlights here, but the coalition negotiations will determine the specifics on this.

Then we also had a lower-than-expected CPI – is this the swing we’ve been waiting for?

Here are the noteworthy events from October, summarised with links included for your light reading.

1.  October industrial action

  • Fisher & Paykel members of E tū took action as part of their collective bargaining
  • E tū members at Graphic Packaging took rolling strike action to support their Living Wage claims.
  • Union members at New Zealand Telehealth Services/ Whakarongorau Aotearoa have taken their second 24-hour strike in a month. They have been offered an increase of 3.75%.
  • E tū members working as journalists for Allied Press walked off the job for a day, seeking increases in line with others in the industry.

2.  Costco settlement

200 FIRST Union members at Costco have voted up their first collective agreement.  The settlement includes a starting rate of $26.50/hour, a pathway to $30.00/hour after four years’ service, as well as overtime and penal rates.

3. Pay equity 

  • Care & Support Workers – The three unions (PSA, NZNO & E tū) filed a joint claim on 1 July 2022 and are now calling on Te Whatu Ora to stop interfering with the proceedings.
  • Allied Health – The proposed settlement would result in 16,000 allied, public health, scientific, and technical health practitioners across Te Whatu Ora receiving a wide range of pay adjustments from 0–40%.  The settlement includes a $10,000 lump sum payment, and backdating to November 2022.

4. Employment law under a National-led government

DTI Lawyers have written an excellent summary of the key election promises relating to employment law.  There are a number that National have flagged as key in their 100-day plan too.  With Act and New Zealand First in the mix, we are now waiting to see what the key elements will be.  One thing that is clear is that Fair Pay Agreements will be no more, with both National and Act having this as part of their key platform.  The unions have indicated that they are ready to fight to keep them.  The other aspect agreed by National and Act is the reinstatement of 90-day Trial Periods.

5. September CPI

The September CPI has come at 5.6%, which is in lower than most had predicted.  Food prices are the largest contributors, with housing and household utilities as the next largest contributor.

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