Good faith bargaining – lessons from abroad

Good faith bargaining soon to replace the Employment Contracts Act is already feature of workplace relations in Canada, South Africa and the US, and has its share of supporters and critics.
Its supporters say good faith bargaining is process that helps redress the power imbalance between employers and employees.
Critics of good faith bargaining say it’s concept that can’t be properly defined, and leads to procedure becom-ing more important than substance. They say case law in other countries shows it’s merely device to fetter employers.
Leading Canadian lawyer Henry Dinsdale will be in New Zealand for seminars on good faith bargaining this month. He will outline the North American experience with good faith bargaining, including the famous 1992 Royal Oak Mines case, where good faith bargaining considerations overrode murders, death threats and intimidation in long-running and bitter industrial dispute.
His experiences may help industrial relations practitioners in this country come to grips with this new procedure.
Dinsdale, member of both the American and Canadian Bar Associations, conducts and advises on collective agreement negotiations in the industrial, commercial and retail sectors.
His visit is assisted by grant from the Industrial Relations Foundation.

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