School Caretakers', Cleaners', Canteen and Ground Staff Collective Agreement

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School Caretakers', Cleaners', Canteen and Ground Staff Collective Agreement 2022-2024 [PDF, 602 KB]

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Part 8: Employment Relationship Problem Resolution

School Caretakers', Cleaners', Canteen and Ground Staff Collective Agreement
Effective 14 November 2022 to 13 November 2024
(includes variation dated 6 June 2023)

  • Resolving an employment relationship problem
    • The worker and employer should first make a reasonable effort to discuss the problem and settle it by mutual agreement. (If it’s a personal grievance, it must first be raised with the employer and within 90 days - Personal Grievances are explained further below).

      Any worker (or employer) has the right to be represented at any stage.

      When a problem arises, union members should contact their local E tū organiser for advice and representation.

      Employers should contact NZSTA or other adviser/representative of choice.

  • Personal Grievances
    • A personal grievance is a particular type of employment relationship problem that normally must be raised with the employer within 90 days of the grievance arising.

      A worker may have a personal grievance where:

        • They have been dismissed without good reason, or the dismissal was not carried out properly
        • They have been treated unfairly
        • Their employment or a condition of their employment has been affected to their disadvantage by an unjustified action of their employer.
        • They have experienced sexual or racial harassment, or have been discriminated against because of their involvement in a union or other worker organisation, or have suffered duress over membership or non-membership of a union or other worker organisation.
        • They have been discriminated against in terms of the prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993(external link).
        • They have been treated adversely in their employment on the ground that they are, or are suspected or assumed or believed to be, a person affected by family violence.
        • They have been subject to duress in their employment in relation to membership or non-membership of a union or employees’ organisation; or
        • their employer has failed to comply with a requirement of Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act; or
        • they have been disadvantaged by the employee’s employment agreement not being in accordance with section 67C, 67D, 67G, or 67H of the Employment Relations Act; or
        • their employer has contravened section 67F or 67G(3) of the Employment Relations Act; or
        • their employer has, in relation to the employee,—
          • engaged in adverse conduct for a prohibited health and safety reason; or
          • contravened section 92 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (which prohibits coercion or inducement); or
        • their employer has retaliated, or threatened to retaliate, against the employee in breach of section 21 of the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022 (because the employee intends to make or has made a protected disclosure).

      Note: The full meaning of the terms personal grievance, discrimination, sexual harassment, racial harassment, and duress, shall be the meaning given by sections 103 to 110 inclusive of the Employment Relations Act 2000(external link) only. The Employment Relations Act 2000 can be accessed through the following link: link)

      As with other employment relationship problems, the parties should always try to resolve a personal grievance through discussion.

      Either party can refer a personal grievance to the Employment Relations Service of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for mediation assistance, or to the Employment Relations Authority.

      If the problem relates to a type of discrimination that can be the subject of a complaint to the Human Rights Commission under the Human Rights Act 1993, the person can either take a personal grievance, or complain to the Human Rights Commission, but not both. If in doubt, advice should be sought before deciding.

  • Services Available
    • To help resolve employment relationship problems, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides:

        • Mediation Service
          The Mediation Service is a free and independent service available through the MBIE, as above.
          This service helps to resolve employment relationship problems and generally to promote the smooth conduct of employment relationships.
          Mediation is a mutual problem-solving process, with the aim of reaching an agreement, assisted by an independent third party.
          If the parties can’t reach a settlement they can ask the mediator, in writing, to make a final and binding decision.
          A settlement reached through mediation and signed by the mediator at the request of the parties is final, binding and enforceable. Neither party can then take the matter any further and, either party can be made to comply with the agreed settlement by court order.
          If the problem is unresolved through mediation either party may apply to have the matter dealt with by the Employment Relations Authority.
        • The Employment Relations Authority
          This Authority is an investigative body that operates in an informal way. It looks into the facts and makes a decision on the merits of the case and not on the legal technicalities.
          Either an employer or a worker can refer an unresolved employment relationship problem to the Authority by filing the appropriate forms.
          The Authority may call evidence, hold investigative meetings, or interview anyone involved. It can direct the parties to try mediation. If mediation is unsuitable or has not resolved the problem, the Authority will make a decision that is binding on all parties. Any party can contest the Authority’s decision through the Employment Court.