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Government Announces Fair Pay Agreement Working Group

Published June 08, 2018 (last updated November 16, 2020) -

Collective Bargaining To lift Wages And Productivity

The New Zealand Government has appointed a new team tasked with establishing Fair Pay Agreements and designing a collective bargaining system that aims to lift wages and productivity in New Zealand. This is proposed to involve sector-level bargaining between unions and employers to set minimum terms and conditions for workers across an entire industry or occupation.

The team includes worker and business representatives, those with practical on-the-ground experience and experts in law, economics and bargaining systems. It will be led by former Prime Minister the Rt Hon Jim Bolger.

Economic Growth and Productivity

“The Government has a vision for a highly skilled and innovative economy that delivers good jobs, decent work conditions and fair wages, while supporting economic growth and productivity,” says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

“The best way to create a high-wage economy is through productivity growth, and we must ensure that workers and businesses benefit from economic growth. While wages have generally grown in the top-two and bottom-two deciles, wages for middle New Zealand have not kept up and as a result feel squeezed by rising costs, particularly in housing.

Establishing a Framework

“We can and must do better for middle New Zealanders. Fair Pay Agreements will establish a framework for employers and employees to work together constructively to lift wages and productivity.

“Workers and employers know their sector best. By working together through effective engagement and bargaining cooperatively, workers and employers can set standards that are relevant to their sector and support productivity and growth.”

Members of the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group:

  • Rt Hon Jim Bolger – 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand, former Minister of Labour
  • Dr Stephen Blumenfeld – Director, Centre for Labour, Employment and Work at Victoria University
  • Steph Dyhrberg – Partner, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law
  • Anthony Hargood – Chief Executive, Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union
  • Kirk Hope – Chief Executive, BusinessNZ
  • Vicki Lee – Chief Executive, Hospitality NZ
  • Caroline Mareko – Senior Manager, Communities and Participation, He Whānau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association
  • John Ryall – Assistant National Secretary, E tū
  • Dr Isabelle Sin – Fellow, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington
  • Richard Wagstaff – President, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

The terms of reference are available at MBIE’s website.

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