Media Releases

Retail NZ calls for Government to ditch so-called “Fair Pay Agreements bill”

6 October 2022

Retail NZ says it is disappointed that the Government is proceeding with its proposed “Fair Pay” legislation, which has been reported back to the House of Representatives from Select Committee today.

“The bill is deeply flawed, will be administratively burdensome, add to the cost of living crisis, and ultimately lead to fewer and less flexible employment opportunities for New Zealanders,” Greg Harford, Retail NZ Chief Executive said today.

“The bill aims to remove flexibility, and is badly thought through. It will have massive implications. In the retail sector, for example, this bill would allow less than half a per cent of workers to kick-start a process which would literally impact hundreds of thousands of jobs. The outcomes of a process will be legally binding, and employers will be punished for not-complying, but there is no requirement that all employers are even made aware of the process. In fact, the bill as reported back from Select Committee reduces the requirement for businesses and employees to be informed.

“While businesses in the retail sector aspire to be good employers, the bill will take New Zealand back to a 1970s era of industrial relations, and will likely lead retailers to increase prices increases, look at reducing store hours, and drive automation to replace jobs.

“Earlier in the year, Retail NZ commissioned an independent poll of New Zealanders about the bill and only 29 per cent of New Zealanders thought it was a good idea. Furthermore, the research showed New Zealanders are concerned by the impacts ‘Fair Pay’ Agreements will have on their daily shopping. 75 per cent are concerned about price increases, 63 per cent are concerned about a Fair Pay surcharges,  60 per cent are concerned about freight costs increases for online shopping and 49 per cent concerned about reduced retail store hours.

“It’s important that workers are paid appropriately, but the flawed ‘Fair Pay’ bill is not the way to achieve better outcomes. Retail NZ is repeating its call for the Government to ditch the legislation.”

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