17 April 2002
“Strikes are still lower than the average for the past decade and reflect remarkably smooth bedding in of the Employment Relations Act,” Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
“It is significant that it is only National Party and Business NZ spokespeople who are trying to talk up the December 2001 quarter strike statistics released by Statistics New Zealand today,” he said.
“New Zealand workers have no complaint about the new Act and workers are joining unions in droves to get the benefits of collective bargaining.”
Ross Wilson said it was relevant that the only significant industrial action right now was a lockout in Christchurch by American-owned Generalcable.
“The company has locked the workers out until they agree to the employer’s demand that they accept a reduced pay offer,” he said.
“The reality is that strikes are well down on what they used to be and even employer spokespeople have admitted that the ERA is a success.
"In fact, there has been a significant reduction in the number of working days lost through strike action over the past 23 years."
Days lost fell from 331,000 in 1990 to 53,000 by 1995. However, the trend began well before the Employment Contracts Act was introduced.
In 1977 there were 562 stoppages. In 1980 there were 360 stoppages, falling to 137 in 1990, and 42 in 2002.