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Supportive Legislation, Unsupportive Employers and Collective Bargaining in New Zealand

Barry Foster, Erling Rasmussen, John Murrie and Ian Laird
Relations Industrielles / Industrial Relations
Vol. 66, No. 2 (2011 SPRING), pp. 192-212
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23078427
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Supportive Legislation, Unsupportive Employers and Collective Bargaining in New Zealand
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Abstract

This paper reports on research into the attitudes of mainstream New Zealand employers to collective bargaining, and its union agents, in New Zealand. Despite a legislative environment supportive of collective bargaining the process has been in substantial decline in New Zealand for 20 years, notably in the private sector. A series of national surveys found that employers indicated a strong preference for individual and workplace based bargaining consistent with a shift toward more Unitarist perspectives established post-1990. Furthermore, employers consistently argued that collective bargaining and its union agents, offered little real benefit to workplaces or employment relationships. This was the case even where those employers were actively engaged in, and had a long history of, collective bargaining with unions. Overall, these results suggest that improvements in private sector collective bargaining density are unlikely.

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