Collectively.Thinking – September 2021

Sep 30, 2021

Welcome to the second 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.  September Industrial Relations News

Thanks to everyone laying low, September has been light on industrial relations news, so there are only a couple of activities to report –

  • DHBs have settled with midwives covered by MERAS agreement, nurses in the PSA, and a new offer is to be voted on by NZNO nurses.
  • Industrial action was taken in George Weston Foods’ bargaining with FIRST Union.
  • Dunedin Go Bus have settled the backpay claim for Living Wage that was agreed by the Otago Regional Council from July 2020.

2. Farmers 80% salary offer

As businesses returned to work under Level 3 restrictions, there were some interesting interpretations of how this should work. Farmers has offered those who return to the head office their full pay however, those continuing to work from home would be paid 80% of their salary and considering individual circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

3. Living Wage and Kiwifruit workers

With the arrival of planes full of RSE workers to assist with the peak in the horticulture industry, this calls into question the Living Wage directive from last year. Supply and demand necessitated an increase in industry wages which will probably still stand for at least another year, but then what?

4.  Podcasts of Interest

With some extra time on my hands, I have listened to a number of podcast episodes over the past month. Two of which are very topical in our current environment –

  • NPR Planet Money is a US-based podcast on financial and economic matters. One of their recent episodes is around returning to the office. The part of this that I found particularly interesting, was that they referenced an article from 1975 which was about how the PC was going to destroy the office culture and why do we still commute. Their two presenters each put a case forward for the opposing viewpoints.


  • The Spinoff has a weekly podcast called “When the Facts Change” and had an interesting episode titled “The case for mandatory vaccines in the workplace”. It takes a health & safety perspective, a wellbeing perspective and also overlays current legislation.

5. How long does bargaining take?!?!

A few weeks ago, I was asked by a frustrated operations manager how long bargaining takes. It’s a really difficult one to give a straight answer to, but I have put some thoughts down for things to be considered when estimating how long it should take.

Anna Holmes is a collective bargaining and industrial relations specialist extraordinaire. For the past 15 years she’s worked with companies of all sizes both here in New Zealand and Australia.