Bargaining for enterprise contracts

Enterprise bargaining allows parties to set minimum terms for work done within a particular production or production company.

Enterprise contracts

Enterprise contracts are bargained between a worker organisation (for example, a union or a guild) and an engager (who hires screen production workers). They cover specific work done by members of the worker organisation within an enterprise (a production company or a production). They can build on the minimum terms set in occupational contracts.

There is no limit on the number of enterprise contracts allowed within a single enterprise.

By default, they apply to specified work done by members of the worker organisation that negotiated the contract. However, non-members can be covered by the contract in certain circumstances.

Engagers can participate directly in bargaining, but workers must be represented by a worker organisation. Industry organisations wanting to represent workers must register as a worker organisation.

Enterprise bargaining process

To participate in bargaining, organisations representing workers must first register as a worker organisation with the Registrar of Screen Industry Organisations. Engagers do not need to register.

Screen industry organisations – Companies Office(external link)

Bargaining can be initiated by a worker organisation or an engager. This is done by either party providing written notice to the other party or parties. The notice must state what work will be covered by the enterprise contract. The notice must also include a date by which the other parties must respond.

All parties must give consent by this date for bargaining to be initiated. Once parties have consented and bargaining has begun, parties cannot withdraw their consent.

Bargaining cannot be initiated if parties do not give their consent by the date in the notice.

During bargaining, industrial action is prohibited. Parties must bargain in good faith. This includes an obligation to produce an enterprise contract.

All enterprise contracts must include certain terms (for example, pay, hours of work, breaks, termination). The terms in an enterprise contract cannot be less favourable than the terms in any occupational contract covering the same work.

During bargaining, parties can agree to allow the enterprise contract to apply to non-members of the worker organisation who carry out work within coverage of the contract. Otherwise, only members of the worker organisation negotiating the enterprise contract, who carry out work within coverage, will be covered.

If disputes arise during bargaining, parties can apply for mediation, facilitation, or a determination by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA). If the dispute is about what a term in the enterprise contract should be, bargaining parties can apply to the ERA to fix the disputed term.

After bargaining is complete, the enterprise contract must be ratified by the workers who are covered by it.

Ratification is not required in greenfield situations (where the engager is yet to hire workers who would be covered). Ratification is also not required if the ERA has fixed any terms in the enterprise contract.

Once the contract has been ratified, it can be signed by bargaining parties.

Once signed by the bargaining parties, the enterprise contract must be sent to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment at employmentagreements@mbie.govt.nz

This should include any document referred to in the contract, or that is incorporated by reference, unless the document is publicly available.

The enterprise contract comes into force when it is signed by the bargaining parties.

The contract’s terms apply to workers in coverage from the date it is signed. However, bargaining parties can agree to delay this by up to 6 months. From this date, the enterprise contract is deemed to be part of the individual contract. More favourable terms in enterprise contracts automatically apply to individual contracts, so the changes do not need to be made to individual contracts.

For workers who are non-members, the terms apply from the date the contract is signed (or up to 6 months after it is agreed to within the enterprise contract), or from the date the non-members provide their consent in accordance with the term of the enterprise contract.

Workers can choose between contracts

Workers can choose between enterprise contracts, if more than 1 contract applies to them for the same work. Once they have decided, they must notify their engager in writing.

Workers can change their decision at any time by notifying their engager in writing.

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