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Work Stoppage Figures No Surprise

18 April 2002

Latest work stoppage figures released by Statistics New Zealand held no surprises and were the result of a decade of employment relations mismanagement and distrust, Minister of Labour Hon Margaret Wilson said today.

“This government anticipated exactly this scenario when it introduced the Employment Relations Act in 2000 to remedy years of mismanagement of employment relations in the public sector and the legacy of mistrust fostered under the previous government and its Employment Contracts Act regime.”

Margaret Wilson said the work stoppage figures for December 2001 quarter gave every indication employers and employees were coming to terms with the good faith principles underpinning the Employment Relations Act.

“The quarter saw six stoppages which is a third of the number recorded in the previous quarter and the lowest number recorded since the three months ended December 2000.

“Those stoppages that have involved higher numbers of lost person-days of work and wages and salaries have been widely publicised and it should come as no surprise that they occurred in the public sector.”

Where industrial action had involved the state sector, the government had adopted a responsible approach that recognised the needs of the sectors concerned and the general constraints around government expenditure, Margaret Wilson said.

“The low December 2001 stoppage figure also reflects the proactive approach taken by the Department of Labour’s Mediation Service. Mediation is one of the mechanisms provided for under the ERA and is proving effective in assisting parties to resolve disputes without recourse to industrial action.”

Ends

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