WITH THE NZNO/district health board (DHB) multi-employer agreement
(MECA) now expired and DHBs operating under tight financial reins, members will either have to re-evaluate their expectations, or campaign rigorously to secure a satisfactory settlement.
In particular, parties who wish to negotiate and enter into multi-employer agreements
no longer need to convince the federal regulatory agency that a multi-employer agreement
is in the public interest in order to negotiate (the situation after the Work Choices amendments) or register (the situation before the Work Choices amendments) a multi-employer agreement
The new work laws have allowed the NSWNA to negotiate a multi-employer agreement
with 47 aged care providers, covering nurses at 220 facilities.
Most commonly, employers can claim (with varying degrees of plausibility) that they are in competition with other employers and that the negotiation of a multi-employer agreement
undermines their market competitiveness.
The 1981 National Maritime Union (NMU) standard multi-employer agreement
for the unlicensed seafarers it represents called for 13 days of vacation accrual for every 30 days worked by the third year of the agreement.
Under the Employment Relations Act, the responsibility now rests with the individual GP employer parties to find an orderly way to bargain with NZNO in the multi-employer agreement
NURSES, MIDWIVES and health assistants covered by the Lower North Island Multi-Employer Agreement
have voted to accept a revised employer offer.
The number of multi-employer agreements
had been declining since the 1950s, but the decline accelerated in the 1980s as multi-employer agreements
were replaced by either single-employer or, in some cases, plant-level contracts (Brown and Walsh 1991).
Accordingly, Sisson attributes the relatively dramatic decline of multi-employer bargaining in Britain, especially in the engineering industry, to its failure in "neutralizing the workplace," largely because of the country's peculiar "common law" bargaining traditions where multi-employer agreements
are insufficiently detailed in substance for workplace bargaining to be merely supplementary or administrative.
NZNO members could not threaten to take strike action for national or other multi-employer agreements