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Problems ahead with good faith bargaining

Media release

21 May 2000

Problems ahead with good faith bargaining

A Canadian labour law specialist currently visiting New Zealand says problems lie ahead in regulating good faith bargaining, a major feature of the Employment Relations Bill.

Toronto lawyer Henry Dinsdale, who is visiting New Zealand this week as a guest of the Employers' Federation, says both Canada and the US have struggled in regulating good faith bargaining.

Mr Dinsdale says when good faith bargaining was introduced in the US, the idea was simply to affirm that unions had a legitimate role in negotiating, not to involve the government in the bargaining.

"But the law has led to the US government dictating not only that the parties must try to reach a collective agreement, but what it is that they are bargaining about," Mr Dinsdale said.

"Canada has also struggled to keep the government out of the bargaining room.

"The problem is that if bad faith is alleged, how does the court sort it out without getting into the substance of the negotiations? In other words, it is hard to avoid direct State involvement at the bargaining table."

Mr Dinsdale says building relationships between employers and trade unions based on good faith is important, but good faith can't be regulated by government - it has to be earned.

Mr Dinsdale will address the Employers' Federation annual conference in Wellington on Wednesday as well as a series of seminars in other centres.


For more information or to arrange an interview with Mr Dinsdale, please call Kathryn Asare 021 555744.

- Mr Dinsdale's visit is supported by a grant from the Industrial Relations Foundation


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