Collective bargaining facilitation

Where collective bargaining runs into serious difficulties, one or more of the bargaining parties can ask the Employment Relations Authority to help resolve their differences. This is known as 'facilitation'.

However, the Authority can only facilitate bargaining in certain circumstances. These circumstances are where:

  • there has been a serious and sustained breach of good faith that has undermined the collective bargaining
  • the bargaining has been unduly drawn out and extensive efforts to resolve the parties' differences have failed
  • there has been a lengthy or acrimonious strike or lockout, or
  • a strike or lockout has been proposed that would substantially damage the public interest.

If the Authority agrees to assist the parties, the Authority member responsible will decide what process will be used to assist bargaining. The facilitation process takes place in private.

During facilitation, bargaining continues and employers and employees are not prevented from using strikes and lockouts.

At the end of the facilitation process, the Authority can make recommendations about:

  • the process the parties should use to reach agreement
  • the terms and conditions of the collective agreement.

The parties do not have to follow the Authority's recommendations, but they must consider the recommendations, in good faith, and cannot reject the recommendations without first considering them.

The Authority may choose to make its recommendations public in the interests of reaching a settlement.