Fair Pay Agreements are Mandatory Union Deals

The tests to initiate so-called Fair Pay Agreements are anti-democratic, forcing the process on workers who don’t want them, National's Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

Parliament is currently debating the Committee Stage of the Fair Pay Agreement Bill, which will bring back occupation or industry wide employment agreements for the first time since the 1980s.

“These mis-named agreements will reduce flexibility, choice and agility in our workplaces, at the very time when we need to be agile in a competitive world,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“There are three hurdles for starting a Fair Pay Agreement: a mere 10 per cent of workers covered by a proposed agreement, or just 1000 workers, which is less than half a per cent of an occupation with 200,000 workers, or a loose public interest test that could apply even if nobody voted for it.

“There is nothing ‘fair’ about Fair Pay Agreements, if a tiny fraction of workers can initiate bargaining and dictate terms for the majority.

“Even if no one wants an agreement at all, bureaucrats in Wellington can force the bargaining process to begin anyway. Once started, there is no stopping it. 

“National introduced an amendment to require at least 50 per cent of the workers covered by a proposed agreement to agree with it, which Labour voted down.

“If the majority of workers do not want a Fair Pay Agreement, they should not be forced into a deal at the whim of the unions or because a bureaucrat decides that is what is best for them.

“National will repeal Fair Pay Agreements.”