Transfer of Editorship
We would like to announce that the New Zealand Journal of Industrial Relations
is changing editors, moving location and in keeping with the new millennium,
changing its title to the `New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations'.
The new editors are: Dr Erling Rasmussen and Dr Felicity Lamm, Senior
Lecturers at the University of Auckland, and Dr Rupert Tipples, Senior
Lecturer at Lincoln University. They have written extensively on employment
relations and their research interests range from future employment in
the primary sector and the psychological contract to occupational health
and safety, the impact of the employment legislation on workers and employment
relations in small businesses. They have also undertaken research for
public and private sector organisations in both New Zealand and overseas.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the editors Alan
Geare and Ian McAndrew with their support staff for their excellent stewardship
of the Journal and for consistently producing such as scholarly publication
on industrial relations. They have set a high standard that we hope to
Erling Rasmussen, Felicity Lamm and Rupert Tipples
Address for correspondence:
ER Publishing Ltd.
PO Box 147117
John T. Dunlop
1914 - 2003
John T. Dunlop, arguably the most influential industrial relations scholar of
the post World War II era, died on October 2nd, aged 89 years.
John Dunlop is probably best known for his 1958 work, Industrial Relations
Systems, a classic book, which strongly influenced industrial relations scholars
for decades. The work was reprinted in 1970 and 1977, and then again in 1993
a revised edition was re-published by Harvard Business School in its "Classics"
During his distinguished academic career, John Dunlop found time to act as
President of both the Industrial Relations Research Association, the International
Industrial Relations Association and also to work as a mediator and arbitrator
in many industries.
John Dunlop also distinguished himself in public service. He was Secretary
of Labour under President Ford from 1974 - 1975 and in 1994 was Chair of the
Commission on the Future of Worker Management Relations (the "Dunlop Commission").
The editors pay their respects to one of industrial relation's "greats".
Information Technology Use and Employment
Change in New Zealand Industries
University of Waikato
The last quarter of the 20th century was marked by rapid uptake of new information
and communication technologies (ICT) with far-reaching effects on workplace
organization. These changes have consequent effects on demand patterns in the
labour market, with less educated workers facing declining opportunities. In
this paper, Census of Population data from 1991, 1996 and 2001 are used to investigate
changes in employment demand by education level for full-time workers in 58
industries covering the entire New Zealand economy. To explore the role of technical
change, data on industry use of computers from the 1996 Input-Output tables
are related to the changes in employment levels for workers at different levels
of education. The findings suggest that declining employment opportunities for
workers who only have school level qualifications or less are strongly concentrated
amongst the industries with higher ICT uptake.
In the middle years of the 20th century, there was little unemployment in the
OECD countries, but unemployment has risen significantly in New Zealand and
in other developed countries in recent years (Martin, 1994; Nickell and Bell,
1995), and particularly afflicts workers at the lower end of the skills range.
This decline in employment opportunities is coincident with the rapid diffusion
of computers and other information technologies, so skill-biased technical change
is one of the leading explanations for the changing pattern of employment opportunities
(Goldin and Katz, 1998). The possible link between information and communication
technologies (or ICTs) and changing labour market demand poses a potential problem
for public policies that aim to expand the use of ICT in the economy. For example,
in New Zealand, the ICT sector has recently been recognised by the government
as one of three priority sectors, due to its potential to improve productivity
across the economy. At the same time, however, the government recognises that: 'in an information society, there is the potential for an inequitable
distribution of ICT which exacerbates existing social and economic disparities.'
Given this potential tradeoff between greater productivity and wider inequality,
it is important to identify the effect of ICTs on the distribution of employment
opportunities for the NZ population. This paper reports on preliminary attempts
to examine the link between computer use and employment change across different
industries. Specifically, Census of Population data from 1991, 1996 and 2001
are used to estimate trends in employment change by educational level for full-time
workers in 58 industries covering the entire New Zealand economy. To explore
the role of technical change, data on industry use of computers from the 1996
Input-Output tables are related to the changes in employment levels for workers
at different levels of education.
Employee-Centred Human Resource Management
University of Otago
Normative models of HRM advocate the use of employee-centred HRM practices
and link the use of these practices with enhanced employee well-being in the
workplace. Employers have embraced the philosophy of these models. Many employers
espouse the view that employees are their 'greatest assets' and also characterise
their HRM practices as being employee-centred.
However, whilst many employers claim to have an employee-centred model of HRM
in place, very little empirical research has been conducted investigating the
extent to which this is actually the case. Similarly, few studies have explored
the relationship between the use of this model of HRM and employee well-being.
This study aims to fill these gaps by empirically assessing, firstly, the extent
to which the employee-centred model is used in New Zealand organisations and,
secondly, by examining the relationship between the use of these practices and
employee well-being. Employee views about the importance of different functional
areas of HRM are also explored.
This study finds that, of the 40 organisations surveyed, most appear to have
moderate amounts of employee-centred HRM practices in place. Surprisingly, however,
it reveals that the number of HRM practices in place is not related to employee
well-being. Two possible explanations are put forward. In light of this study's
finding that employees do not consider all areas of HRM to be equally important,
the absence of this relationship may suggest that not all HRM practices have
the potential to equally enhance employee well-being. An alternative explanation
is that employers have simply failed to effectively operationalise their HRM
Theory - Models of HRM practice
The literature on Human Resource Management (HRM) suggests that HRM practices
can be grouped according to one of two approaches - one is organisation-focussed
and the other employee-centred. Although the distinction is not emphasised in
the United States literature, the two most widely used and accepted terms for
these models of HRM in the United Kingdom literature are the hard model and
the soft (or employee-centred) model and these are based around opposing "views
of human nature" and strategies for managerial control (Stiles et al, 1997:53).
Some of the main defining differences identified are that hard HRM emphasises
financial performance while soft HRM emphasises the triple bottom line; and
hard HRM is utilitarian instrumentalist while soft HRM is developmental humanist
(Storey, 1989; Hendry & Pettigrew, 1986) .
As far as HRM function is concerned the hard version supposedly emphasises
a 'managerialist' agenda. HRM practice is linked to business strategy and is
primarily aimed at meeting the interests of shareholders. This approach sees
workers as a key resource to dispassionately exploit in order to gain a competitive
advantage. On the other hand, the soft version, while acknowledging the importance
of shareholders, also takes into account the interests of other stakeholders.
The view that "people have a right to proper treatment as dignified human
beings while at work, and they are only effective as employees when their job-related
personal needs are met", Legge (1989:26) suggests is "identical to
the values underlying all the soft version HRM models". The soft model
therefore views employees as ends in themselves, rather than objects, and through
using HRM to foster employee motivation, commitment and development, organisational
goals can be achieved, but more importantly, employee well-being is enhanced
(Legge, 1989, Guest, 1989).
The characteristics of the employee-centred model are similar to those that
underpin best practice HRM. Both advocate the use of activities that meet the
interests of employers as well as those of employees. Johnson (2000:69-70) describes
best practice as "HR methods and systems that have universal, additive,
and positive effects on organisational performance
shareholder return, stock prices, and organisational survival". He suggests
the underlying guiding principle of best practice is the valuing and rewarding
of employee performance. This is achieved through empowering and developing
the employee. Thus, activities that are designed to achieve these dual objectives
are often considered to constitute best practice HRM.
Notwithstanding the literary distinctions that are made between hard and soft
approaches to HRM, it is acknowledged that employers are likely to have included
elements of both models in their HRM practice. This is because, invariably,
the overriding objective of HRM is nearly always to improve bottom-line performance
and this can be achieved by adopting a hard model of HRM practice. However,
at the rhetorical level, research finds that organisations nonetheless tend
to embrace the philosophy of developmental humanism and purport to use a soft
approach to HRM (Guest, 1999).
Despite findings that suggest that there is an abundance of employer support
for the use of employee-centred models of HRM this support is, however, often
not so evident in practice. Grame, Staines & Paite (1998) find that while
support for individual development, which is an aim of soft HRM, is frequently
reflected in employer views of HRM, policies and practices supporting this are
rarely evidenced in practice.
Take This and be Thankful: The 2002
New Zealand Cricket Pay Dispute
University of New South Wales
The commencement of the 2002/03 New Zealand cricket season was delayed by a
six week dispute between the Cricket Players' Association and New Zealand Cricket
over player payments. The Association is one of a large number of relatively
small unions which have come into being since the passage of the Employment
Relations Act 2000. The Act encourages trade unions and good faith bargaining
to address inherent inequalities of bargaining power in employment relationships.
The paper confirms an implicit proposition by Barry and Reveley (2002) that
small unions, under the Act, are essentially impotent. New Zealand Cricket breached
the good faith collective bargaining provisions of the Act. The appointment
of Good Faith Bargaining Judicial Officers is offered as a policy recommendation
that might help attain the Act's objectives.
The commencement of the 2002/03 New Zealand cricket season was delayed by a
six week dispute - from 1 October to 11 November 2002 - between the Cricket
Players' Association and New Zealand Cricket over player payments. The dispute
represents another example of the collectivisation of industrial relations which
is occurring in professional team sports (and goes against the blight that has
been forced upon unions, more generally, in recent decades by the combined forces
of globalization and neo-liberalism). Beginning in the 1960s, player associations
were either established or reformed and became more active and successful in
European soccer and major North American professional team sports. Player associations
have become a major feature of Australian sport - operating in Australian rules
football, cricket, soccer, rugby union, rugby league, basketball and netball.
In the latter part of the 1990s, the New Zealand Rugby Union Players' Association
Policing Industrial Disputation: Lessons
from the Lyttleton Picket Line Tragedy
The sudden and unexpected death of a female picketer at Lyttleton and the two
ensuing manslaughter trials have aroused scrutiny of modern policing methods
of controlling industrial disputation. Justice Panckhurst, in the original trial,
directed partial blame for the picketer's death on the peace-keeping and non-interventionist
strategy of the local police and the behaviour of some aggressive male picketers.
This article argues that the Lyttleton tragedy was a "one-off" incident
and that a return to traditionally aggressive, legalistic and confrontational
policing of industrial conflict must be avoided. The Lyttleton case-study has
ramifications for future police procedures in controlling industrial disorder.
Picket lines, overt manifestations of industrial conflict, are unpredictable
and volatile, even dangerous. The police, as the coercive arm of the state,
are empowered to maintain order in such public order situations. This article,
which examines the policing practices and tactics employed at the 28-29 December
1999 picket at Lyttleton, asserts that the tragic death of a picketer was a
"one-off" incident that should not be used to justify a return to
aggressive and confrontational policing of industrial disputation.
The unusual and sudden circumstances of Christine Clarke's death at the Lyttleton
wharf picket occurred two days after she was struck and run over by a Toyota
Landcruiser driven by Derek Powell, who subsequently twice stood trial for manslaughter.
Clarke was not even a union member; she was a pacificist, an advocate of social
and community justice, a marcher against the 1981 Springbok Tour. She was on
the picket line by choice to protest the Lyttleton Port Company's (LPC) attempt
to use cheap, contract labour and thereby threaten local jobs. At a micro level,
the port dispute was a classic industrial relations contest between the company's
resolve to employ whomsoever it desired against the unions' attempts to safeguard
the livelihood of members. The police strategy for the brief duration of the
Lyttleton picketing was to maintain peace and calm until the industrial dispute
was settled. Christine Clarke is the only picketer in Australasian history who
has died as a result of a vehicle being driven through a picket line.
SPECIAL TOPIC: SUSPENSIONS
Natural Justice in Dismissals and
University of Otago
The concept of natural justice is defined and its relevance to industrial relations
examined. While common law, regarding natural justice and the dismissal of employees
is fairly settled, it is contended that the common law regarding natural justice
and the suspension of employees is fluid and inconsistent. The paper argues
that the more recent decisions on natural justice and suspensions are problematic.
The concept of 'natural justice' is important in all branches of administrative
law. As Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest put it in Wiseman v Borneman  at 278:
that the conception of natural justice should at all stages guide those
who discharge judicial functions is not merely an acceptable but is an essential
part of the philosophy of the law.
Natural justice is fundamentally a common law concept. It is imputed whenever
statute law is not clear and explicit enough to render it redundant. Consequently
it is rare for explicit reference to natural justice to be made in statute law,
although in recent years this has occurred in New Zealand.
In the general field of industrial relations, natural justice has primarily
been considered with respect to dismissal of employees. The common law in this
area is reasonably well established and understood. However the applicability
of natural justice when employees are not dismissed, but rather suspended from
employment is not nearly so well established or understood. Indeed court decisions
have changed markedly over the years. The paper considers theoretical issues,
and a number of relevant cases both from the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The implications of these decisions both on common law and good management practice
The Evolving Law of Operational Suspension
University of Canterbury
Suspension from work, when related to disciplinary matters, essentially takes
two forms. First, the ability for the employer to impose a disciplinary penalty
by way of a period of unpaid suspension is sometimes negotiated into what are
now employment agreements as a "merciful substitute for
(NZ Labourers etc IUW v Christchurch City Council). Second, and more commonly
in terms of the case law, a period of paid or unpaid suspension is often imposed
whilst the employer investigates allegations of misconduct against an employee.
It is this second type of suspension with which this article is concerned,
a type of action sometimes termed "operational" suspension. This is
not a term of art, however. In the leading decision Birss v Secretary for Justice,
it was noted that administrative suspension of this type is most often simply
a step in disciplinary action. Further, the Employment Court has held that operational
suspension of an overly lengthy duration can itself become a form of punishment
(Frank v Air New Zealand).
A number of recent decisions by the Employment Relations Authority indicate
that "operational" suspension remains a relatively common step in
the disciplinary process. The focus for this article will be those decisions
of the Employment Court and the Court of Appeal which establish the relevant
principles for application by the Authority. A survey of the relevant Authority
decisions is available elsewhere (Employment Institutions Information Centre,
Unions and Union Membership in New
Zealand: Annual Review for 2002
Robyn May*, Pat Walsh*, Raymond Harbridge**& Glen Thickett*
*Victoria University of Wellington
**La Trobe University, Melbourne
This paper reports the results of Victoria University's Industrial Relations
Centre's survey of trade union membership for 2002 in New Zealand. The survey
carries on from our earlier surveys, conducted by the Industrial Relations Centre
since 1991. As with the 2000 and 2001 reports, 2002 also reports an increase
in union membership. Union membership for the year to December 2002 rose 1.5
percent, with the number of unions rising to 174. Union density has dropped
slightly to 21.7 percent due to union recruitment not matching the strong labour
force growth over the year.
When the Employment Contracts Act 1991 (ECA) ended the practice of union registration,
it not only removed the distinct legal status of trade unions but it also brought
to an end the official collection of data on trade union membership. In the
absence of official data, the Industrial Relations Centre at Victoria University
of Wellington began to undertake voluntary surveys of trade unions in December
1991, and these surveys continue to the current date. Notwithstanding their
voluntary status, the surveys have always had a high compliance rate. In addition
to information on aggregate membership, our surveys have also sought information
on gender and industry breakdown (at two digit industry level) and organisational
affiliations. We have recently included an additional question on whether unions
collect statistics on the ethnic background of their membership.
The Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA) requires unions to submit an annual
return of members to the Registrar of Unions, stating the number of members
as at 1 March of each year. The return to official collection of data on union
membership began in 2001. In 2002 the Department made public the membership
of each of the registered unions at 1 March 2002 (DOL 2002)
For our survey this year we included only those unions deemed to be registered
as at 31/12/02, as per the Department of Labour website of registered unions
(see www.ers.dol.gov.nz-union-registration). At the end of 2002 registered unions
numbered 175. One union, the Medlab Bay of Plenty union subsequently advised
us they had merged with the Northern Chemical workers, reducing the number to
174. In February, each of the registered unions was sent a survey requesting
information on membership numbers as at 31 December 2002. Two further follow
up mail-outs resulted in a total of 135 returns. Details on the remaining 39
unions were established by using last year's return verified by the Registrar's
figures, or telephone contact where possible, and any media information (DOL
June 2003 - September 2003
Erling Rasmussen and Ian McIntosh
A round-up of recent New Zealand industrial relations
Information on recent, non-indexed NZJIR issues can be found
by clicking on the appropriate links below.
23, Number 2 - June 1998
Number 3 - October 1998
Number 1 - February 1999
Number 2 - June 1999
Number 3 - October 1999
Number 1 - February 2000
Number 2 - June 2000
Number 3 - October 2000
Volume 26, Number 1 - February 2001
Volume 26, Number 2 - June 2001
Volume 26, Number 3 - October 2001
Volume 27, Number 1- February 2002
Volume 27, Number 2- June 2002
Volume 27, Number 3 - October 2002
Volume 28, Number 1- February 2003
Volume 28, Number 2- June 2003