DHB MECA bargaining process
Lesley Harry Industrial Adviser
NZNO has a responsibility to uphold its democratic decision making processes and is obliged not to be swayed by influences outside of those processes, including comments on social media.
Social media offers opportunities for engagement on issues that matter to members but is sometimes used to misinform and influence NZNO’s democratic decision making processes. NZNO has an obligation to act in good faith during bargaining with both employers and members. Suggestions on social media that members have in the past been coerced to vote in a particular way is incorrect and unhelpful. A recommendation from the negotiating team and informing members of the options before voting takes place does not equate to telling members how to vote.
The negotiating team when considering its recommendation takes into account a range of important considerations. The reasons for any recommendation is provided before voting takes place. This is so members are able to make an informed decision and not to tell members how to vote. To suggest otherwise denigrates the collective intelligence of members and voting process itself.
A decision to take industrial action is also one that members must collectively decide on. Such action should never be taken lightly and the required process must be carried out with considerable care to avoid the potential of a legal challenge by employers. Strike action may only occur after another secret ballot is held following members rejection of the employers offer or subsequent offers. The parties are required to attend mediation first so the process requires us to follow each step and this does take time. Some comments on social media suggest that strike action may occur at whim and without the need to follow due process, this is simply not the case.
To clarify what happened in 2015, two sets of ratification meetings were held. The negotiating team decided not to recommend the initial offer which members voted against. As part of that process members were asked why they rejected the offer. Further negotiations were held which did not deliver on the key issues identified by members. The parties attended mediation which led to an improved offer.
Based on the feedback from the first vote and member turnout, the team decided to recommend that offer. It is always important for the negotiating team to have an indication that members would indeed support industrial action and meeting attendance is one important consideration. Voting by secret ballot follows a full presentation of an offer and options for the next steps. Here is what was presented to members at both sets of ratification meetings last time and no doubt a similar message will be presented to members at ratification meetings soon.
Options for voting outcome
If the offer is accepted then we will complete and sign the MECA as soon as possible.
If the offer is rejected then we will seek and attend urgent mediation to attempt to improve the offer. We would hope the DHBs would indeed respond to members views.
If an improved offer is not achieved then we will be coming back for your support for an action plan which may include balloting for some form of industrial action.