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NZ ratifies ILO Convention 98 in Geneva

NZ ratifies ILO Convention 98 in Geneva

New Zealand has joined the 152 other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom, that have ratified the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson presented the official documents this week at the ILO’s annual conference in Geneva. The Director-General of the ILO, Juan Somavia, warmly welcomed New Zealand’s ratification of what he described as “the backbone of the ILO”.

New Zealand has been able to ratify the long-standing convention because the Employment Relations Act provides rights for employees to join unions and promotes the negotiation of collective employment agreements. Convention 98 (1949) requires a country to ensure: Employees enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment; Protection 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; 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; Appropriate mechanisms are established for ensuring respect for the right to organise as defined in the Convention; and Encouragement and promotion of 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 that ratification reinforced the philosophy of the Employment Relations Act 2000, in particular the promotion of collective bargaining and anti-discrimination. It does not create any new requirements as New Zealand meets all the provisions of the Convention.

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