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Union Members Win ERA Case: TVNZ Breached Collective Agreement

E tū members at TVNZ are celebrating a significant win, with the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) ruling that the company breached their collective agreement in its recent process to dis-establish prominent shows and make large numbers of staff redundant.

The determination agreed with E tū’s position that TVNZ did not comply with Clause 10 of the collective agreement, which requires a high level of staff involvement throughout change processes, an attempt to agree, and meaningful involvement in the development of proposals.

TVNZ members did not get that opportunity. The ERA has now directed that E tū and TVNZ will go to mediation to find a mutually agreeable outcome, and that failing this TVNZ will be directed to comply with the collective agreement. Redundancies will be paused until the matter is resolved.

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Michael Wood, says this is a huge win.

“We are really happy, but not surprised, that the Authority reached the same conclusion as us – that the process was a clear breach of the collective agreement,” Michael says.

“We negotiated for members to have meaningful input into change processes because the workers are the experts, and had TVNZ honoured the collective agreement from the beginning, we may well have reached a much more favourable option for everyone.

“Instead, we’ve had to endure this messy and incomplete consultation process, and the company has already steamed ahead with their plans to cancel our important news and current affairs shows.

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“The determination demonstrates that TVNZ management seriously underestimated the extent to which they needed to engage with their employees to find a way forward in these difficult times for the company. They need to engage much more fully – and that requirement is for the benefit of viewers, and the public as a broad stakeholder, as well as for workers at TVNZ. Workers and stakeholders all deserve much better.

“We aren’t going to predetermine the outcome of our mediation, but we are hoping that TVNZ management will finally get the message that they can’t take their workers for granted in these processes.”

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