National promises to scrap Government's Fair Pay Agreement plans

  • 06/06/2018

National is promising to scrap the Government's latest plans - even with their former Prime Minister at the helm.

The Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) working group, led by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, will make recommendations on a collective bargaining system. The working group will cost $300,000, and recommendations will be made by the end of the year.

But National's Workplace Relations spokesperson Scott Simpson says it's against his party's aims.

"We've got some pretty clear views around industrial relations, and this doesn't sit well with our views to create a flexible, fluid, growing economy that creates jobs," he says.

The Labour Party campaigned on the FPA policy, which intends to stop a "race to the bottom" with companies lowering wages to compete with competition.

FPAs will set minimum standards for wages and employment conditions like allowances, weekend and night rates, hours of work and leave arrangements for all workers within industries.

The agreements will be set through collective bargaining between unions and employers within each sector, without the need for bargaining with each individual employer.

Industrial action (strikes and lockouts) will not be permitted in negotiations for Fair Pay Agreements.

The working group will make recommendations to Minister for Workplace and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway by the end of 2018, which will then be considered by Cabinet.

Once legislation has been introduced, it will be up to workers and employers in a sector to begin negotiating Fair Pay Agreements.

And businesses plan to have their say about pay deals, with John Milford from Business New Zealand saying members will be strongly represented.

"We will participate willingly and enthusiastically with this body to get the best outcome," he says.

"If at the end of the day we don't like the outcome, that won't stop us from having a position."

Members of the Fair Pay Agreement team:

  • Rt Hon Jim Bolger – 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand, former Minister of Labour
  • Dr Stephen Blumenfeld – Director of Centre for Labour, Employment and Work at Victoria University
  • Steph Dyhrberg – Partner at Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law
  • Anthony Hargood – Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union chief executive
  • Kirk Hope – BusinessNZ chief executive
  • Vicki Lee – Hospitality NZ chief executive
  • Caroline Mareko – He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association senior manager communities and participation
  • John Ryall – E tū assistant national secretary,
  • Dr Isabelle Sin – Motu Economic and Public Policy Research fellow, Victoria University of Wellington adjunct senior lecturer
  • Richard Wagstaff – New Zealand Council of Trade Unions President

The group will look at:

  • the criteria and process to initiate bargaining on a Fair Pay Agreement
  • how bargaining participants will be identified and selected
  • what Fair Pay Agreements should cover in terms of scope
  • bargaining rules and dispute resolution processes, and ratification and enforcement of Fair Pay Agreements