New Zealand's Collective Employment Contracts: Update November 1992


  • Raymond Harbridge



The Employment Contracts Act 1991 contains a very different thrust than that of New Zealand's earlier industrial relations legislation. That thrust is directed at the decollectivisation of the labour relations system, encouraging enterprise bargaining over multi-employer bargaining, and promoting individual rights as equal to those of any collective. A direct corollary of these policies is reflected in the decision to keep no public record of collective bargains. Confidentiality of settlement outcomes has become an important aspect of negotiations. While Government policy has determined that there will be no public record of collective bargains, it has decided that, for "analytical and research" purposes, employers who enter into collective employment contracts that cover 20 or more staff should forward copies of those contracts to the Secretary of Labour. No such obligation rests with unions or other employee organisations who enter into contracts. The absence of a comprehensive public record of collective bargaining has made it very difficult to ascertain the effects of the legislation, but then, that is something that can be used to advantage by those who support the Act.


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Author Biography

Raymond Harbridge,