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Stoppage statistics challenge myths

Wednesday, 17 October 2001 Media Statement

Stoppage statistics challenge myths


“Work stoppage figures released today show that concern about the current level of strikes and lockouts is based on something of an urban myth,” said Labour Minister Margaret Wilson.

From October 2000 to the end of June 2001 (the period of the Employment Relations Act) the number of employees involved in stoppages halved when compared to the most recent equivalent period under the ECA. Only half the number of person-days were lost. Under the old Employment Contracts Act three times the value of wages and salaries were lost in the equivalent period. There were 22 work stoppages compared with 18 in the equivalent period of the old law.

“Strikes and lockouts are legal in some circumstances under the new law. But the law makes it more difficult to take direct action – especially because of the 40 day waiting period after bargaining commences,” said Margaret Wilson.

“And in the first year of the ERA there have been about 500 mediations over bargaining. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Mediation Service is succeeding in getting agreement in many cases before either side takes direct action.

“The ERA is working well and building more productive workplaces.”

ENDS

December, March and June quarter total compared for the first nine months of the ERA and the most recent equivalent period (Dec 99, Mar 00, Jun 00) under the ECA
ECA ERA
Number of Work Stoppages 18 22
Number of Employees Involved 6635 3336
Person-days of Work Lost 16956 8046
Estimated Loss in Wages and Salaries $000 4100 1199


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