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EMA Northern needs a maths lesson

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister of Labour

18 December 2006 Media Statement

EMA Northern needs a maths lesson

Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson today wondered if the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) need a refresher course in maths after reading the results of their latest survey.

"The survey had 396 respondents, 30 percent of whom thought they had an employment problem they classed as being a personal grievance within the last year. Of this 30 percent, or 119 people, 25 percent chose not to go to mediation or through any formal process but instead paid their employee off. By my calculations, this means that approximately 30 employers decided to go straight ahead and pay out an employee, which is actually around 7.5 percent of the total respondents – not 70 percent as claimed in their release; is this the New Maths?" said Ruth Dyson.

"If EMA Northern's David Lowe is calling for an obligatory referral to mediation through the Employment Relations Authority then I would say no. Employers and employees should be able to sit down and talk to each other about workplace problems as a first step, before taking any other action."

"Mediation is however cost effective and no lawyers are needed. The Department of Labour runs an excellent employment mediation service as well as providing free advice via their website and employment information line," said Ruth Dyson.

Figures from 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.

The Department of Labour's Employment Relations Service website can be found at www.ers.govt.nz and the Employment Relations Infoline can be contacted tollfree on 0800 20 90 20.


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