Collective Bargaining – Code of Good Faith

Agreements, Acts / 22 May 2019
Collective Bargaining – Code of Good Faith

A new Code of Good Faith in Collective Bargaining (Code) under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (Act) has been approved by the Workplace Relations and Safety Minister.

The Code, which came into force on 6 May 2019, takes into account the changes made by the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 and reflects the practices, developments an experiences in applying the duty of good faith under the Act.

The purpose of the Code is to give employers and unions guidance on their duty to act in good faith. It sets out:

  • what the parties should consider during the bargaining process and when entering into any written arrangement;
  • the requirement for parties to conclude a collective agreement unless there is a genuine reason not to, based on reasonable grounds;
  • that the parties can agree to seek the assistance of a mediator in concluding a collective agreement;
  • that the parties can apply to the Authority for facilitation in concluding a collective agreement; and
  • that the parties should, wherever practicable, indicate any concerns about perceived breaches of good faith at an early stage to enable the other party to remedy the situation or provide an explanation.

Although the Code is not a substitute for the Act, the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court may have regard to this Code in determining whether or not a union and an employer have dealt with each other in good faith. If the parties can show they have followed the Code, this may be considered to be compliance with the good faith provisions of the Act.

If you have any concerns or queries about the changes to the Act around unions, bargaining and collective agreements, please contact our team.

Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law and health and safety topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.

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