November 2018 news

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

Lies, damned lies, and statistics! Comments on the recent wave of strike activity

Dr Stephen Blumenfeld, Director, CLEW.

In June, National Party Leader Simon Bridges claimed, 'After less than nine months of this Government 32,000 workers have been involved in industrial action, or signalled their intention to be, compared to just over 27,000 that undertook strike action in the entire nine years of the previous Government.' He highlighted this point with a blue and red bar chart emblazoned with the title 'number of people striking.'

Taken at face value, the data the Leader of the Opposition offered would appear to support his contention that the current Government has opened the floodgates to industrial disruption. Under closer examination, however, Mr Bridges was comparing, not simply apples with oranges, but rather apples with apples plus oranges, and there were far more oranges than apples!

Legal update: pay rates in collective agreements

Jacks Hardware and Timber Ltd v First Union Inc [2018] NZEmpC 94.

Peter Kiely, Partner, KielyThompsonCaisley.

In this case, First Union successfully obtained external intervention to conclude collective bargaining by applying for the Employment Relations Authority (the Authority) to fix the provisions of a collective agreement under section 50J of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act). At the time of writing, Jacks Hardware and Timber Ltd (Jacks) has challenged this determination in the Employment Court and has been granted a stay of the Authority proceedings.

2018 conference on labour, employment, and work in New Zealand—'work and wellbeing'

The 2018 conference on Labour, Employment, and Work at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington aims to tackle some of the big issues facing employers and employees, including gender equity, health, and wellbeing, and the future of technology in the workplace.

Organised biennially by the University’s Centre for Labour, Employment, and Work (CLEW), the conference was established more than 30 years ago and brings together leading labour market scholars, researchers of work and workplaces, and policymakers.

Update on employment related legislation

With much activity that impacts on employment on the legislative agenda we thought it was timely to update everyone on what is happening with the various pieces of legislation and the government working groups.


  • Equal Pay Amendment Bill: submissions to the education and workforce select committee close on 28 November.
  • Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill: the select committee report is due back to the House on 29 November.
  • Employment Relations Amendment Bill: the select committee report was due back to the House on 7 September but has yet to have its second reading.

Working Groups:

  • Fair Pay Agreement Working Group is expected to report back to the Minister by the end of November.
  • The Holidays Act Working Group will report back to the Minister in mid-2019.