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Govt to ratify International Labour Convention

Government to ratify fundamental International Labour Convention

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson announced today the Government will ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining early next year.

“Ratification of this Convention is another significant step being made by this Government towards advancing the implementation of the ILO’s decent work programme in this country,” she said.

Last year the Government also ratified ILO Convention 182 aimed at eliminating the worst forms of child labour.

New Zealand will join 152 other countries that have ratified Convention 98.

“This has been made possible because the Employment Relations Act provides rights for employees to join unions and promotes the negotiation of collective employment agreements,” Margaret Wilson said.

To ratify Convention 98, countries need to:

· Ensure employees enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment;

· Protect against the dismissal of, or otherwise prejudice to, an employee by reason of union membership or because of participation in union activities outside working hours or, with the consent of the employer, within working hours;

· Provide that employees’ and employers’ organisations enjoy adequate protection against any acts of interference by each other or each other's agents or members in their establishment, functioning or administration;

· Establish appropriate mechanisms for the purpose of ensuring respect for the right to organise as defined in the Convention; and

· Take measures to encourage and promote the full development and utilisation of machinery for voluntary negotiation between employers or employers' organisations and workers' organisations, with a view to the regulation of terms and conditions of employment by means of collective agreements.

Margaret Wilson said the Government is also continuing to assess measures that will enable it to ratify another of the ILO’s core conventions, Convention 87 on Freedom of Association.

“The main issue being looked at is the status of sympathy and protest strikes. While the Government has no intention of making these explicitly lawful, it is continuing to examine how any barriers to ratifying this Convention may be overcome.”

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