Employment Relations Amendment Bill Submission

29 March 2018

To read the full submission, click download PDF. 

Summary

Our manufacturing members see many of the changes outlined in the bill as highly likely to have a negative impact on the productivity and profitability of their businesses, adding to costs and removing their ability to take a chance on new employees – as such, we oppose a number of measures in this bill.

The removal of the 90 day trial periods for companies over twenty employees is of particular concern for the manufacturing industry, who already face a number of skill shortages and find it very difficult to get staff with the right skills and experience – this removal will take away the ability to take a chance on a new employee who may not meet these requirements, but who shows some potential.

The focus on strengthening unions and collective bargaining brings uncertainty to many manufacturers – many already have unionised workplaces, but equally, many do not. When unions and businesses can work together in a relatively harmonious relationship, there can be benefits to all parties. However, the use of individual agreements and contracts allows manufacturers to reward those who are the most productive and are highly skilled, to help retain them – this is particularly critical at a time of intense competition for skills and experience, not only domestically, but from other countries.

Manufacturing employs a total of 251,300 people, representing 10% of those employed (Statistics NZ, HLFS), and employs 171,900 Full Time Equivalent workers (FTE) which represents 11% of the total FTE workers across all industries (Statistics NZ, QES). Manufacturing also pays weekly wages which are higher than the average of all industries.