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Parliament asked to restore voluntary unionism

Max Bradford

National Industrial Relations Spokesperson

Tuesday 6 August 2000

Parliament asked to restore true voluntary unionism

National will seek Parliament's support to restore people's right to negotiate a collective agreement without having to join a union, National's Industrial Relations spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"Apart from the historic trade unions, there was overwhelming support from select committee submissioners for allowing non-union collective agreements to be negotiated and registered as enforceable documents.

"Forcing employees to join a union when they want to be part of a collective agreement is inconsistent with the freedom of association provisions of the bill, and the principles of voluntary unionism.

"National will move a Supplementary Order Paper to the Employment Relations Bill introducing a new part allowing for non-union collective bargaining leading to enforceable collective employment agreements.

"That's what a lot of New Zealand employees want, without the baggage of trade unions and the bureaucracy of the union bargaining process set out in the Bill.

"Non-union collective bargaining is allowed in a number of countries around the world, including our major trading partner Australia. It is also consistent with ILO conventions and decisions of its freedom of association committee.

"The Labour and Liberal-National Parties in Australia have political consensus allowing non-union collective bargaining. We should have it here in New Zealand, but that depends on whether the Labour/Alliance/Green Government wants it.

"The National Party is committed to voluntary unionism. We want to give people the choice of who represents them and will not force unions on people who don't want a return to the past."

Ends

SOP with New Part 5a attached

PART _5A___

NON-UNION COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

1. Object of this Part

The object of this Part is -

(a) to establish that any group of employees, of whatever size, may, in negotiating for a collective agreement (to be known as a non-union collective agreement), choose either to conduct negotiations on their own behalf, or to be represented by any person, group or organisation other than a registered union.

(b) to establish that in the course of negotiations for a non-union collective agreement, the parties will observe the requirement of this Act to bargain in good faith.

2. Choice of representation

(1) Any group of employees may, in negotiating for a collective agreement,

(a) determine whether that group wishes to conduct its own negotiations or to be represented by another person, group, or organisation other than a registered union, or a representative of a registered union; and

(b) if that group of employees wishes to represent itself, determine that it will conduct its own negotiations, or if the group wishes to be represented by another person group, or organisation other than a registered union, determine the person group, or organisation, by which it will be represented.

(2) A person, group, or organisation other than a registered union may represent any group of employees both under this Part of this Act and in respect of any employment relationship problem, as provided in terms of this Act, that may subsequently arise.

3. Authority to represent

(1) Any person, group, or organisation that purports, in negotiations for a non-union collective employment agreement, to represent any group of employees, shall establish the authority of that person, group or organisation to represent that group of employees.

(2) Where any group of employees has authorised a person, group, or organisation to represent that group of employees in negotiations for a non-union collective agreement, the employer with whom the negotiations are being conducted must recognise the authority of that person, group, or organisation to represent those employees.

- 2 -

4. Right of access by representative

(1) Where any group of employees in an individual employing organisation has authorised a person, group, or organisation to represent that group of employees in negotiations for a non-union collective employment agreement, that person, or a member acting on behalf of any such group or organisation, may, for the purpose of those negotiations, enter the employer's premises at any reasonable time when the employees so represented are employed to work on the premises, to discuss matters relating to those negotiations.

(2) Every person who enters any premises shall be bound by the conditions relating to access set out in subsections(2), (3) an (4) of section 22A of this Act.

(3) Right of access maybe denied in the circumstances set out in section 23 of this Act.

5. Ratification of settlement

(1) Where any group of employees has either chosen to represent itself in bargaining for a non-union collective employment agreement, or has chosen to be represented by any person, group, or organisation, that group of employees, or that person, group, or organisation, as the case may be, must, before entering into negotiations, agree on a procedure in relation to the ratification of any settlement subsequently negotiated by those employees, or by that person, group, or organisation.

(2) A non-union collective employment agreement shall come into force and be binding on the employees covered by it once it has been ratified in accordance with the agreed ratification procedure.


Regards

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