Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu Early Childhood Teachers' Collective Agreement
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Part Nine: Disputes/Personal Grievance Procedures
Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu Early Childhood Teachers’ Collective Agreement
Effective: 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2024
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Personal grievances and disputes shall be addressed in accordance with the provisions of Part 9 of the Employment Relations Act 2000.
The following is a plain language explanation of the employment relationship problem resolution services.
What is an Employment Relationship Problem?
It is a problem between employee and employer. For example, it might be a personal grievance or a dispute about a provision in an employment agreement.
Resolving an Employment Relationship Problem
The employee 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 within 90 days – Personal Grievances are explained further below). An employee (or employer) has the right to be represented at any stage. When a problem arises, union members should contact their local NZEI Te Riu Roa field officer for advice and representation. Employers should contact an adviser/representative of choice.
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. An employee 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 employee organisation, or have suffered duress over membership or non-membership of a union or other employee organisation.
- they have been discriminated against in terms of the prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993(external link).
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.
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.
To help resolve employment relationship problems, the MBIE provides:
An Information Service
This is free. It is available by contacting the MBIE or by phoning toll free 0800 209020. Visit the Ministry’s Employment NZ website(external link).
The Mediation Service is a free and independent service available through the MBIE. 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 not 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 an employee 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 is 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.
Note: All employment relationship problems, including personal grievances and any disputes about the interpretation or application of this agreement, must be resolved under Parts 9 to 10 of the Employment Relations Act 2000(external link).
Signing of this Agreement
This collective agreement has been signed by the parties in Wellington on the 20 December 2022.
New Zealand Educational Institute – NZEI Te Riu Roa on behalf of the employees by its duly authorised representative
Ministry of Education by its duly authorised representative
Witnessed by Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu