ECA Behind Continuing Fall In Work Stoppages

  • Max Bradford
Enterprise and Commerce

Quarterly work stoppage statistics released today show the continuing downward trend in work stoppages under the Employment Contracts Act, Enterprise and Commerce Minister Max Bradford says.

Statistics New Zealand figures for the June 1999 quarter showed 219 employees were involved in work stoppages - the lowest number recorded in the current decade.

"While there will be industrial disputes from time to time as employees legitimately seek to negotiate better terms and conditions, work stoppage figures show the level of unrest in the workplace is nowhere near as high as it was under the last Labour government.

"This is due to the ECA, which has given employees and employers greater choice and flexibility," Mr Bradford said.

"In Labour's last term, under a regime that allowed compulsory unionism, there were over 900,000 working days and $100 million in wages lost.

"Since the ECA was introduced there has been a stunning decline in workplace conflict - to its lowest level since 1935. In the last 3 calendar years, work stoppages cost about 106,000 working days and $14 million in lost wages.

"The demise of union domination of the workplace has enabled direct bargaining between firms and employees, allowing deals to be struck that suit the needs of both sides, rather than those of a third party.

"This has been reflected in the strong growth in employment since 1991 - with some 278,000 jobs created between June 1991 and June 1999," Mr Bradford said.