The end is in sight when parties are reaching settlement but care is required to ensure that the hard work of getting to an agreement is not wasted in the final stages.
What you must do
- the union must set a ratification process that determines how agreement will be reached by its members (e.g. 50%+1)
- an agreement can only be signed after ratification
- an agreement has no effect unless it is in writing and signed by the parties
- a copy of the whole agreement must be available to employees when they meet to ratify it
- the parties must send a copy of the agreement to the Chief Executive of the Department of Labour. Advocates should take responsibility for delivering a copy, unless it is publicly available. The law requires you do this as soon as practicable after the agreement is entered into. The information is used to provide statistics and analysis of trends in bargaining that are available on the Department of Labour website.
You can provide information by
- email - firstname.lastname@example.org, or
- posting a copy to the Department in hard copy or on disc Registrar of Unions
Department of Labour
P O Box 3705, Wellington.
What else could I do?
Parties to bargaining must act in good faith and that means not doing anything to deceive or mislead each other. Parties should not:
- renege on agreed positions such as agreements during the course of negotiations or and agreement to endorse proposals for settlement
- refuse to sign a negotiated settlement.
Agree terms of settlement
When an agreement is reached at the table it is still only a proposal until the parties have ratified it. Be sure to commit that proposal to writing and have all parties sign the document. This is called a Terms of Settlement and it can smooth the process between the negotiations at the table and the settlement of the collective agreement.
If you have problems with the process around reaching settlement you can access mediation support through the Department of Labour. On the panel on the right hand side you will find further information and resources, including a template for Terms of Settlement.