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11 October, 2013
In New Zealand, IndustriALL affiliate, The Manufacturing & Construction Workers Union made it a point to stop the growth of precarious work through collective bargaining. Over the past few years Bostik, owned by French transnational Total, have had significant redundancies among factory workers represented by The Manufacturing & Construction Workers Union and the First Union, also and affiliate of IndustriALL.
There has been significant growth in the use of labour through labour hire companies in New Zealand. Over the past three collective agreement negotiations, the unions have attempted to restrict this growth. The recently settled collective agreement was the first where the employer accepted that there should be some restraint on the numbers of agency staff. The agreement says that where there are three or more agency staff for a continuous period of six months
the employer must consider whether or not it would be reasonable to offer permanent employment.
The agency employee with the longest period of unbroken work is to be offered the work first, after taking into account skill requirements and other relevant factors, all the agency workers are equal in this regard.
The collective agreement formerly had a requirement that if the company engaged a temporary worker for six months, if the work remained at the end of six months the temp must be made permanent. The company had been evading this by using labour hire agencies as the employer of temporary workers.
Under New Zealand law if the employer does not act in good faith with regard to the application of this new provision their actions can be reviewed in an employment court.