Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse has today rejected claims that the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill currently before Parliament will make it harder to settle pay equity claims.
“The Government shares the desire of Kristine Bartlett and the Unions to get this important piece of legislation right,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“We don’t, however, agree with the Union’s assessment of what this Bill will do.
“The purpose of the Bill is to avoid the adversarial court process that the parties in the Terranova case would have had to embark on had the Government not intervened and negotiated a settlement.
“The good faith bargaining process that is proposed is exactly what the Terranova process involved and any suggestion that the settlement could not have been achieved if this Bill was in law is simply incorrect.
“The Terranova settlement was reached with reference to a comparator within the health sector and the Bill enables parties to look outside the sector if an appropriate comparator cannot be found.
“This will make New Zealand’s law more progressive than any other country we compare with.
“There will be an opportunity for the public to have their say on the Bill during the select committee process and we will be listening carefully to those submissions,” Mr Woodhouse says.