Bargaining Agreements
Bargaining Agreements
This guide provides information to assist with preparing for bargaining and includes a sample bargaining process agreement.
The Employment Relations Act 2000 encourages employers, unions, and employees, in the context of
collective bargaining, to draw up a bargaining arrangement that specifies the rules the parties have
agreed to abide by while bargaining for their collective employment agreement. Where bargaining for
a collective employment agreement is to involve multiple parties, then the need for a comprehensive
bargaining arrangement is greater.
Good faith in bargaining for a collective agreement is covered in section 32 of the Act. Section 32(1)(a)
stipulates that the duty of good faith (in section 4 of the Act) requires that a union and an employer use
their best endeavours to enter into an arrangement, as soon as possible after the initiation of
bargaining, that sets out a process for conducting the bargaining of the collective in an effective and
efficient manner. But the Act provides little guidance on what matters should be addressed in a
bargaining arrangement.
In April 2011 a new sub-section was added to Section 32 stating that the section “… does not prevent
an employer from communicating with the employer’s employees during collective bargaining
(including, without limitation, the employer’s proposals for the collective agreement) as long as the
communication is consistent with.…” subsection (1)(d) of the section and the duty of good faith in
section 4.
The law was not intended to extend the ability of employers to communicate, but to clarify the current
situation.
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