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Fair Pay Agreements not fit for future of work

The release of the Fair Pay Agreements report this morning doesn’t address three of the fundamental concerns of the business community, says Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson.

The Fair Pay Agreements report (FPA) proposes a system of industry-wide collective agreements for New Zealand workplaces. However, Ms Watson says the recommendations in the report don’t align with the reality of the modern business environment.

"Our concerns about the Fair Pay Agreements are that they lack a forward-thinking focus.

"Firstly, we disagree that being covered by an FPA should be compulsory for everyone in a sector. There is a very real concern that this would disproportionately and adversely impact smaller regionalised businesses - and considering the significant number of SMEs in New Zealand, the implications of this would be far-reaching.

"We believe that the decision to enter an employment agreement should always be voluntary, which is much more in keeping with the modern principles of good faith.

"Secondly, we don’t believe that FPAs would be sufficiently flexible and able to meet the particular needs of individual firms. As we have seen in the past, the likelihood of industrial action is increased and with it the likelihood of second tier bargaining - all adversely impacting business confidence and productivity. The nature of work is changing, with an increasing need for flexibility; we need to ensure that any policy changes are future-proofed and that they align with how we see the future of work."

The final area is industry-wide stop-works, where everyone would have to attend paid stop-work meetings to agree on FPAs - a move that Ms Watson says could seriously impact employers and productivity.

Ms Watson says The Chamber has worked hard to ensure that the concerns of employers in the region have been heard by Government.

"As an advocate for the Canterbury business community, we disagree with key recommendations of the report; however we are very aware that this is the start of the process. We will continue to negotiate and advocate for the points that are essential for business, and look forward to continuing our work representing Canterbury business interests with the Government."


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