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Wage claim appears to be disintegrating

Wage claim appears to be disintegrating

The Metal Workers Multi Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) appears to be disintegrating, according to Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

The four per cent wage offer made by the group of employers who were the original parties to the agreement, has been rejected by the Engineers Union.

“The metal workers multi employer collective agreement in force from March 8th 2004 to March 7th 2005 has expired and it seems unlikely another one will be agreed to succeed it,” Mr Thompson said.

“However nothing stands in the way of employees or their representatives, collectively or individually, negotiating with individual employers.

“The Employment Relations Act 2000 states when a collective agreement expires that employees covered by it continue to be covered under individual agreements based on the former collective agreement and with any additional terms and conditions agreed to by both the employee and employer.

“Multi employer agreements are not favoured by most private sector employees or their employers though they have worked across some industries with the agreement of groups of employers and the union representing the employees concerned.

“But it always has been a challenge to achieve ‘one size fits all’ wage settlements. In the past, when such agreements were the norm, strikes were also common when agreement could not be reached, and this lead to the confrontational industrial relations of yesteryear.”

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