One of the challenges in collective bargaining is managing the different expectations parties have about appropriate conduct. A bargaining process agreement (or arrangement) is a document that sets out parties’ expectations of each other at different stages of the bargaining. This helps prevent problems arising that unnecessarily distract or disrupt the negotiations.
This part of the website contains a template bargaining process arrangement, designed to help parties reach agreement on how bargaining should proceed.
As soon as possible after bargaining has been initiated, the parties must exercise their best endeavours to reach agreement on a bargaining process arrangement. This requirement is set out in the good faith provisions of the Employment Relations Act (s. 32 (1) (a)). The Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court may have regard to an approved code in determining if parties have complied with good faith (ERA s. 39). The bargaining process agreement sets out a process for conducting the bargaining in an effective and efficient manner including
The Code of good faith (ERA s. 35 (1)) provides guidance to parties on the duty to act in good faith, including a section on agreeing a bargaining process. The health sector has a specific Code of Good Faith (ERA Part 8A). The Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court may have regard to an approved code in determining if parties have complied with good faith (ERA s. 39). The agreement sets out a process for conducting the bargaining in an effective and efficient manner including
An information agreement, while not essential, can form a valuable part of a good faith bargaining arrangement. Where employers and unions can agree on a set of information to be provided on a regular basis, they avoid having to establish relevance on a case-by-case basis. An information agreement may need to be reviewed periodically. The following matters may be included
For more information and resources about setting up the bargaining process see the links on the right hand side.