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ERA – Making New Zealand Workplaces Better

Minister of Labour Margaret Wilson has marked the first anniversary of the Employment Relations Act by thanking employers, managers, employees and unions for working in the spirit of the Act to make New Zealand workplaces better.

“Looking back on the dire predictions made by some during the law’s passage through the House in 2000 it is difficult to see what the fuss was about. The Act, and the Employment Relations Service that implements the legislation, are both in good shape.

Margaret Wilson today released the third in a series of good practice publications developed by the Employment Relations Service, and based on the first year’s experience of the legislation. The booklet, 'Good Faith Relationships' guides employers, managers, employees and unions in their responsibilities under the new law. The Employment Relations Act has ‘good faith’ as its cornerstone.

Margaret Wilson says the objectives of the Act are being met on all fronts.

“Employers and employees are going about their business with sound legislation and strong support from the Employment Relations Service. The relationship between business, unions and employees with the Employment Relations Service is an outstanding success of the new legislation.

“Personal grievances handled by the new Mediation Service are being processed more speedily than under previous legislation, with just under three quarters of all mediations completed in the first 10 weeks, and assistance provided to over 400 parties involved in collective bargaining.

“In the past year, over 200,000 inquiries and requests for information have been responded to by the Employment Relations Service Infoline with client satisfaction around 90%. The Infoline service received high praise from clients for being helpful, knowledgeable and friendly in dealing with the public.

“The Employment Relations Authority has been active, receiving over 1300 applications and successfully completing over half, and with over 500 being referred by them to mediation.

“As employers, employees and unions become more aware of the legislation the focus will increasingly be on encouraging the development of productive workplace practices. Work done by the Service this year showed that personal grievances, recruiting, and collective bargaining were areas where more information was required. This need is being met by the publication programme continued today. Publications are available both through the Service’s freephone service 0800 800 863 and on its website www.ers.dol.govt.nz

Ends

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