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Trade unions chasing pie in the sky

The Labour-New Zealand First’s report card on wage increases for existing collectives in 2019 could surprise many, particularly in the wake of unrealistic trade union demands during this Government’s first term – the Adelhelm & Associates Collective Agreements Settlements Survey is expected to reveal.

The ten-year-old survey of private sector collective agreements in New Zealand – submissions close Friday 7 June – is expected to reveal that the pattern of increases will be up on the 2018 survey result. The question – by how much!

“Even though there is a union friendly government in place, the 2019 trade union demands for wage increases of between 10 -16 per cent are out of touch,” says Adelhelm senior industrial relations consultant Anna Holmes. “When you consider that the average annualised wage increase by industry in 2018 was just 2.38 per cent. In 2017 it was 2.27 per cent and 2.06 per cent in 2016, we don’t expect the needle will have moved very much.

“I’m expecting three per cent, or close to that.”

More than 60 of New Zealand’s largest employers contribute to the Adelhelm Associates Collective Agreement Survey, which is open to all private sector companies who negotiate collective agreements with unions.

Holmes said the pattern over the last ten years has typically shown the lowest median wage increases by collective agreement to be in manufacturing, around two per cent.

“There is still time for companies to contribute to the survey. A national snapshot of collective agreement data is a valuable intelligence tool for those who have to negotiate with trade unions.”

Data is collected by way of online or spread-sheet submission, depending on the number of collectives involved.

A copy of the 2018 survey is available on request.

Companies wishing to participate in the survey can do so here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CASettlements2019

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