The future of industrial relations discussed at CLEW's 50th Anniversary Seminar
The seminar marking CLEW's 50th Anniversary - ‘Is it time to reset our Employment Relations Systems?’ attracted not only an excellent range of presenters to tackle the topic but also a wide range of people from across the New Zealand employment relations community.
In her opening address to CLEW’s 50th anniversary seminar, Professor Jane Bryson, Dean of the Wellington School of Business and Government at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, paid tribute to the critical role that CLEW has paid since its establishment as a tri-partite forum on key issues for industrial relations and the extensive database of Collective Employment Contracts/ Agreements and awards which provides a unique record of changing employment and working conditions in New Zealand. She commented that the first paper produced by CLEW’s predecessor, the Industrial Relations Centre (IRC) was by Noel Woods and it spoke of the need for reform in the then Industrial Relations, Arbitration and Conciliation system. How appropriate that 50 years later and 30 years since the introduction of the Employment Contracts Act, the last major overhaul of our IR systems, that this seminar asked the question ‘Is it time to reset our Employment Relations Systems?.’
The programme for the seminar included an opening address from the Hon Michael Woods, Minister for Workplace Relations and safety; a session led by professor Gordon Anderson's paper 'Rethinking the legislative architecture'; a presentation for Professor David Peetz ‘Collective bargaining and unions – still an effective tool for determining wages, hours and working provisions?’; and a panel discussion to conclude on ‘Employment relations and the changing work environment’. Commentators in each session included Chief Judge Christina Inglis, employment lawyer Peter Cranney, John Ryall and Kerry Davies from E tu and the PSA respectively, Principal Mediator Judy Dell, and the final panel of rose Ryan (MBIE), Melissa Ansell-Bridges (NZCTU) and Paul Mackay (Business NZ).