The NZ Meat Workers Union and AFFCO Talleys have been ordered back to mediation by the Employment Court to try to agree on and settle a collective agreement for union members. NZ Meat Workers Union members are ready to play their part.
This happened because there were two big Employment Court cases due to be heard in November. The first was AFFCO Talley's application to end bargaining under new provisions of the Employment Relations Act introduced last year. The second was the NZ Meat Workers Union application to have the Court set the terms and conditions of the collective agreement under a provision never used in the Employment Relations Act.
We've been to mediation before so what's the difference?
AFFCO Talleys and the Meat Workers Union have agreed to privately engage retired Employment Court Judge BS Travis as the mediator, rather than rely on the usual MBIE mediator. The Court has directed Judge Travis report to them three weekly on progress.
What if this doesn't result in a new collective agreement
Hearings on AFFCO Talley's application to end bargaining and the Meat Workers Union to have the Court set the terms and conditions of a collective agreement will go ahead in March 2017.
Chief Judge Colgan emphasised the importance of good faith in his decision saying :
"I emphasise publicly, as I have in a Minute already sent to the parties, that the Court expects that collective bargaining exercise to be undertaken in good faith. The Court accepts at face value the solemn assurances of the parties given, through their counsel, that they will attempt genuinely and in good faith to agree to settle a collective agreement."
NZ Meat Workers Union will be doing everything we can in good faith to conclude a fair collective agreement.