February 2018 news

Read news releases and research items from our February 2018 newsletter.

Research update: barriers for women in career advancement

Kendrah Wood, Esme Franken, Geoff Plimmer, School of Management, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Unequal pay and sexual harassment are two examples of the persistence of gender inequities, over 40 years since the emergence of second wave feminism and the passing of Equal Pay legislation. Although many formal and structural impediments have been removed, informal, subtle and sometimes covert barriers to women’s advancement still exist.

In this article, based on interviews with thirteen senior women in the New Zealand banking sector, we report on perceived barriers, and explain the durability of these barriers despite progressive organisational actions and initiatives. These results are a summary – participants’ experiences varied. The co-operation of the banking sector and the women in this study is greatly appreciated. Hopefully it will encourage other sectors to be so reflective.

Government begins employment law overhaul

Sue Ryall and Stephen Blumenfeld, CLEW.

Former Prime Minister Bill English described the Government’s recently proposed changes to New Zealand’s labour law as a ‘union shopping list’ and argued that the reforms are ‘cutting across what has been a very impressively performing labour market’. How well-founded are these claims, though? To answer this, we look to data in CLEW’s Collective Agreements database for the year ending 31 May 2017 and evaluate those proposed changes against what is currently provided by way of CAs.

Legal Update: Representation in Individual Bargaining

Reviewed by Peter Kiely, Partner, KielyThompsonCaisley.

New Zealand Public Service Association Te Pukenga Here Tikanga Mahi v Commissioner and Chief Executive Inland Revenue Department Te Tari Taake [2017] NZEmpC 164.

This case concerns a claim by the Public Service Association (PSA) that the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) had breached the duty of good faith in collective bargaining under section 32 of the Employment Relations Act 2000. The union also claimed a breach of section 236 when, as part of a restructuring process, the IRD sent letters offering employment to members of the PSA who had authorised the union to represent them in the change process.

The Court found that there was no breach of section 32, but that the IRD had breached section 236. The breach of s 236 was important because it meant the union and IRD had to engage in further discussion about the effectiveness of the IRD’s offers.