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Council correct in hours of work interpretation

Media Release 15 June 2006

Council correct in hours of work interpretation

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has ruled that the Christchurch City Council correctly interpreted the hours of work clause in its collective agreement with the Southern Local Government Officers Union (SLGOU).

The Council’s General Manager Human Resources, Philippa Jones, says two employees took their cases to the ERA after being asked to change their hours of work at the Council. One of the cases related to overtime hours and the other to the interpretation that 37.5 hours was normal for a week’s work in the new agreement. In the second case, working normal hours meant that the employee lost a discretionary additional payment.

“In the two decisions released this week, the Authority ruled in the Council’s favour in both cases accepting its contractual interpretation on both issues,” Ms Jones says.

In the case of one of the employees who shifted to another worksite, the Authority said that the Council was entitled to change the overtime hours which an employee was required to work. This decision was based on the Council’s interpretation of Clause 6 of the Collective Agreement.

In the other case, the Council correctly interpreted that normal/ordinary hours for all employees covered by the collective contract are 37.5 hours a week. However, the ERA has left an issue open in this second decision. The issue relates to a statement from management during the negotiations that no employee’s remuneration would be reduced as a result of the negotiations or settlement of a new agreement. The ERA has left that matter to be resolved by the parties.


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