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BSC statement on Supreme Court Decision

Media Release – for Immediate Release
10 August 2012

BSC statement on Supreme Court Decision

Building Services Contractors New Zealand has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold a Court of Appeal decision over redundancy compensation.

BSC, which represents New Zealand’s building services contractors, had supported facilities services company OCS in the action after cleaners from Massey University challenged a Court of Appeal decision that held that employees could not bargain for redundancy compensation because their collective employment agreement precluded them from receiving redundancy payments.

BSC President Patrick Lee-Lo said: “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision regarding bargaining for monetary compensation.

“Our members employ upwards of 9,000 people in New Zealand. We have always bargained in good faith with the unions on employment issues and will continue to do so.’’

However, Mr. Lee-Lo emphasised court or government guidance might be required regarding the Supreme Court’s decision on a second point, ruling that, where an employment agreement precluded any right to a particular form of redundancy agreement, employees could still bargain non-monetary redundancy entitlements.

“We will be seeking clarification in this area, particularly around the definition of ‘non-monetary entitlements’,” said Mr Lee-Lo.

“A concern is that this could complicate bargaining situations, delay decisions and result in significantly more cases needing to be referred to the Employment Relations Authority.

“That is not beneficial for employers, because it can tie up resources for a long time; it is not good for clients because they need to know whether they have a new contract or not; and it is not good for employees because they have families to feed, bills to pay and they want to know whether they are going to have jobs or not.”


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