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Bargaining protocol agreed

Bargaining protocol agreed

An agreement on a bargaining protocol has been reached between university unions and employers after mediation in Christchurch this week. A number of dates have also been confirmed for bargaining.

The bargaining protocol, which governs arrangements and conduct between the parties during the bargaining process, was finalised yesterday after earlier discussions had reached an impasse over representation and the use of information provided during bargaining.

Some employer representatives had attempted to limit the participation of staff representatives by restricting the numbers of staff to be released on pay for negotiations and by placing limits of which of the staff representatives would have access to confidential information during bargaining. Disagreement remained about the confidentiality and use of commercially sensitive information.

Following mediation, the universities have agreed to release staff representatives on pay for the negotiations, but will review progress after 15 days, and have withdrawn the limitation on those staff representatives to whom commercially sensitive information would be made available. The unions have agreed to provisions which are intended to establish parameters by which any analysis of confidential information provided by employers during negotiation can be subsequently reported to union members.

The unions' advocate, AUS Industrial Officer Jeff Rowe, said that although it had required four days and mediation to achieve a protocol, it would provide a good basis on which the negotiations would proceed. The negotiations will commence on 6 and 7 November in Wellington with a further six days scheduled before the end if the year. They are 26 and 27 November (in Christchurch), 3 and 4 December (in Wellington) and 15 and 16 December (in Hamilton).

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