Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers

All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says.

“The Screen Industry Workers Bill will restore collective bargaining rights for screen industry workers, rights that were removed by the controversial ‘Hobbit law’ under the previous government. It provides further protections than just repealing the ‘Hobbit law’,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

“In New Zealand, almost 90 per cent of screen production workers are contractors. We know many like working as contractors, because they have high amounts of flexibility and control in their work lives. But unlike other contractors, those working in the screen industry cannot challenge their employment status, even if they think they are actually employees.”

“This Bill aims to increase rights for screen industry workers by allowing workers and businesses to work together to set minimum terms through collective bargaining. This will provide protections for workers while maintaining the flexibility and certainty that the industry needs,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

The Bill implements the unanimous recommendations made by the Film Industry Working Group towards the end of 2018.

The main features of the Bill include:

  • A requirement for all workers to have written contracts which contain mandatory terms about termination, and protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment.
  • A framework allowing occupation-wide collective contracts to be negotiated, which will set minimum terms for all contractors in those occupations. These can be improved on in enterprise-specific collective contracts, and individual contracts.
  • A tiered dispute resolution system to support parties to resolve issues that may arise during the course of a contractual relationship or collective bargaining.

“We want to make sure that our screen industry flourishes. That’s why we’ve involved industry from the outset to identify a practical solution that restores workers’ rights while reflecting the needs of the screen industry.

“The consensus between the industry and screen workers will provide certainty for the sector and investors so that our screen production industry can thrive for many years to come.

“All people in New Zealand deserve good jobs, decent work conditions and fair compensation for their work – and the Screen Industry Workers Bill helps ensure these for workers in our screen industry too,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

For workers and companies who already have contracts in place, a transitional period is included in the Bill. Once the Act comes into force, these parties will have 12 months to ensure the terms and conditions of their contracts comply with the changes.

For more information on the Screen Industry Workers Bill visit the MBIE website.