26 June 2019
Upon reflecting on a couple of live and public scenarios that are currently playing out, I’m brought back to what is one of Adelhelm’s key IR mantras – “solve problems at the lowest level.” Meaningful engagement with your employees and truly listening to what they are asking for, even if you need to read between the lines, are key steps in relationship building and strengthening industrial relations within your organisation.
Long, drawn out, positional negotiations do not build productive relationships on either side of the table. Employees are left feeling unloved and unvalued, employers are angry about the cost and perceived ‘time-wasting’ of the process, and both parties are frustrated. None of this leads to a workable deal for anyone involved, and often requires significant re-building of relationships once the deal is signed.
In my opinion, the Employment Relations Authority becoming involved in wage-setting is a dangerous procedural path to go down. The Jack’s Hardware agreement for Dunedin and Mosgiel has much wider implications than just for two Mitre 10s in the deep south. This will now become the benchmark not only for all Mitre 10s across the country, but also for large format retailers and anyone with similar roles. Don’t expect unions or employees to settle for less than $19 as a starting rate, regardless of company affordability.
While I don’t agree with comments in the attached article about this decision leading to more unresolved negotiations, I do think it highlights the importance of resolving matters between the parties in the shortest possible time at the bargaining table, to keep the below-the-line costs down and to keep the emphasis in the right place – on the employees who are the core of any agreement you make.
We highly recommend striving for collective agreements that are operationally and financially viable for the business, while still actively promoting the relationship between employer and employee.
Unless specified, all articles are summaries of articles gathered from various news publications. For full citations please click on the article heading.