The Employment Relations Act 2000
After the neoliberal reforms of 1980-200s in New Zealand, the Employment Relations Act strived to reintroduce the greater balance of employment relations through the good faith doctrine ("Employment Relations Act 2000 No 24 (as at 01 March 2017), Public Act Contents – New Zealand Legislation", 2017). The decision was motivated by the set of political, economic and historical factors. The paper insists that the neoliberal reforms left the workers unprotected, which is particularly relevant to the blue-collar workers. The decreased proximity of the labor unions and the growing individualism tendencies diminished the existing balance of power on the labor market, which was also intensified by the state being no longer involved in its regulation. The analysis of the topic is also important for the understanding of the background of the current economic situation in New Zealand as well as the major ideas and concepts behind the employment relations.
The following paper investigates the factors, which contributed to the renewed necessity to establish the balance of the employment relations. The paper identifies the social, political, and economic aspects of the New Zealand life in 1980-2000s, which necessitated the introduction of the Employment Relations Act. The research is structured into three parts, each of them devoted to the separate group of factors.
The Employment Relations Act of 2000 was greatly influenced by the massive shift of the New Zealand political course. Before the mid of the 1980s, New Zealand followed the Keynesian full employment policies, which guaranteed the broad protection of the economy by the government (Starke, 2007). However, the 1980s marked the significant changes on the way to the neoliberalism, making the New Zealand economy one of the least protected in the world (Humpage, 2011). The neoliberal reforms were sought to deregulate the trade and to corporatize the labor market, which made the workers unprotected and resulted in the increased level of unemployment. It also resulted in the spread of the pro-business rhetoric, motivating the need for the deregulation of the economy.Therefore, the Employment Relationships Act was a crucial step necessary to guarantee and ensure the worker’s rights in the neoliberal economy.
Moreover, the change to the neo-liberalism policy resulted in the shift from the collectivism to individualism, which affected the political life of the state as well as employment relationships. The neoliberal reforms resulted in the decreased proximity of the unions with most of the workers preferring the individual employment (Humpage, 2011). Nevertheless, the labor unions continued to exercise its influence over the government, which resulted in the increased collectivism of the Employment Relations Act (Rasmussen & Lamm, 2005). The act supported the collective bargaining and the collective management agreements. The Labour coalition government, elected in 1999, did not aim to fight the influence of the labor unions but to make the labor union an instrument facilitating worker’s protection.
The political and economic neoliberal reforms did …