February 2019 news

Read news releases and research items from our February 2019 newsletter.

Union membership in New Zealand–report on 2017 survey

Dr Stephen Blumenfeld, Director, CLEW
Sue Ryall, Centre Manager, CLEW

Neither union membership nor union density has come close to approaching their pre-1991 levels since enactment of the ECA in May of that year. While unions in most of the industrialised world suffered declines, the plunge in union membership and density experienced in New Zealand in the first few years of the ECA 1991 was far more pronounced than in virtually any other OECD member country.

Total membership of unions as at December 2017 stands at to 361,660. The steady downward trend in union membership since 2010 appears to have reversed, with total union membership increasing by just over one percent since December 2016. This is the highest level of union membership since December 2013.

A window into bullying

With workplace bullying inquiries increasing along with the number of reports and findings, is it ‘PC gone mad’ or a reckoning for organisations that have turned a blind eye to such behaviour for far too long, asks Victoria University of Wellington’s Dr Geoff Plimmer.

The number of recent inquiries into workplace bullying spans Parliament, sporting codes such as hockey, football, rowing and cycling, the legal profession and government. Together they provide a good window into the dynamics and impacts of bullying and harassment within organisations.
The findings point to a broad range of behaviours that if repeated over time meet technical definitions of bullying. To protect privacy and dignity, the reports are sometimes opaque about ‘what happened’, but some themes do emerge that are consistent with the international literature.

Note: this article from CLEW associate Dr Geoff Plimmer was first published in Newsroom on 12 February.

Upcoming Seminars in Auckland and Wellington

Our subscribers are likely to be interested in some upcoming seminars in Auckland and Wellington organised by some of our partner organsiations.

MPower, the CLEW equivalent at Massey University, is hosting Professor Christian Welz from Eurofound during February and March. Professor Welz is a senior research manager at the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) and brings extensive experience and knowledge from the fields of industrial relations (IR), EU labour law, and social policy. As a senior research manager in IR, he manages a variety of research projects to develop expertise and quality of research in the field.

Christian will present in Auckland on February 27, 5–7 pm at Massey Albany and in Wellington on Tuesday 19 March, 12.45–2.15 pm at Rutherford House.

The title of Christian's Auckland presentation is very topical and will be of considerable interest - 'BREXIT, voice, and loyalty: European social dialogue in turbulent times!'

In Wellington he will speak on 'Employment Relations Systems and how they contribute to fairness at work, productivity and growth and reduction in inequality'. In addition to Christian's presentation a representative of the MPower group will look at the New Zealand employment relations systems in this light and finally a panel of union, business and policy people will comment and discuss the presentations. Further information will be available soon but if you wish to register your interest email clew-events@vuw.ac.nz and we will forward the information when it is available.

The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) are organising seminars in Auckland and Wellington that will be of considerable interest. Both are presented by Professor Peter Gahan, a leading academic and founding director of the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne.

Wellington, 4 March, Rydges Hotel, 12.30–1.45 pm - 'Disruptive technologies: the future of work and the future of work-related policy'

Auckland, 5 March, Rydges Hotel, 12.30–1.45 pm - 'Everyone's future: planning for an ageing workforce'.