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EMA interpretation misleading, says Dyson

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister of Labour

7 June 2006 Media Statement

EMA interpretation misleading, says Dyson

Figures released by the Employers and Manufacturers Association are a selective interpretation of employment relations reality, says Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson.

In fact the number of applications to the Employment Relations Authority and to Mediation Services concerning personal grievances has decreased in the past two years, says Ruth Dyson.

"Figures collected by the Department of Labour show that the number of personal grievances going to the Employment Relations Authority have been progressively decreasing in number – down from 1811 in 2003 to 1741 in 2005."

Applications received by Mediation Services have also dropped, from 6180 in 2003 to 4272 last year.

"So there is no statistical validity to the claim that there is a 'thriving personal grievance industry' out there."

As for the EMA's questionable claim that determinations by the Authority in favour of employees has risen, it is difficult to assess whether cases are judged solely in favour of the employee because a determination may find in favour of both parties on separate issues.

Even in cases where compensation is awarded to an employee, it may be reduced where contributory conduct by the employee made the situation worse.

"The Employment Relations Act is working well, with the majority of workplace disputes being settled by use of mediation, discussions between employee and employer or through the use of union advocates," says Ruth Dyson.


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