Newly released documents show the Government’s plan for Fair Pay Agreements did not have the support of MBIE, and Fair Pay Agreements should now be reconsidered, says BusinessNZ.
Chief executive Kirk Hope says Fair Pay Agreements would cause massive industrial and commercial disruption, and there is no popular support for them outside of the union movement.
“We have now learned that MBIE – the Government agency that would implement Fair Pay Agreements – also recommended against the policy.
“It is not surprising that there is no support for this policy across the vast majority of New Zealanders,” Hope says.
“Compulsory sector-wide collective agreements would do nothing except introduce unwieldy regulation and destroy economic value.”
MBIE officials say the plan had significant risks and could breach New Zealand’s international labour obligations.
Hope says it was also alarming to learn that the Government proposed introducing at least eight Fair Pay Agreements per year, while claiming that there would be no more than two or three per year.
“Fair Pay Agreements would be unwieldy, costly and place stifling restrictions on NZ businesses and the NZ economy. It’s time for the plan to be scrapped.”
Meanwhile, the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) says inflexible, compulsory national awards are not the future of the workplace for employers or for employees .
“The fact the Government is pursuing these agreements in the face of contrary advice from officials within MBIE highlights they are a step back in industrial relations for New Zealand,” says EMA CEO Brett O’Riley.
O’Riley says it was widely agreed by employers, the union movement and even current government ministers that the future of work was an adaptable, fast-moving and flexible workplace.
“Why then would we go back to a system of central, inflexible regulation that removes the ability of individual employers to work with their own workforce in setting terms and conditions suitable to an individual workplace and removes the ability for individual employees to negotiate working arrangements that suit their circumstances?”
The MBIE paper also points out that the compulsory nature of negotiating these agreements may also breach international obligations around bargaining as set out by the International Labour Organisation.