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Work Stoppages A Reflection Of Collective Approach

17 April 2002

Work Stoppages A Reflection Of 'Collective' Approach

Work stoppage statistics released today are a reflection of the 'collectivism' of the Employment Relations Act says Business NZ.

Work stoppages in 2001 were double those in 2000. Stoppages in the December 2001 quarter involved the highest number of employees of any quarter in the last five years.

Business NZ Executive Director Anne Knowles says the ERA's focus on collective bargaining means that when there is a strike, more people are likely to be involved.

"Previous strikes under the Employment Contracts Act were more likely to be enterprise-focused, involving only those employees at the workplace concerned.

"But a more collective approach casts the net wider and results in more employee work hours being lost." The education industry had the highest number of employees involved in work stoppages in 2001. Ms Knowles said there had been expectations that the ERA would deliver greater returns to public sector employees including those in education, and increased industrial action followed once it became apparent those expectations would not be met.

"Getting rid of bulk funding would also have been a factor in last year's increased education work stoppages. Bulk funding helped maintain certain disciplines, including that of enterprise-based bargaining, where the bargaining is focused on the specific workplace in question and takes into account its ability to pay.

Getting rid of bulk funding and reverting to collective bargaining removes those disciplines and would tend to make wider industrial action more likely."

Ends

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