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Duties for each bargaining side during bargaining

Bargaining sides have a number of specific duties in the process, many of which are aligned with a duty of good faith.


This page is part of a series of pages with information for bargaining parties in the Fair Pay Agreement system:

Information for bargaining parties

Detailed information for bargaining parties can be found in the guide below:

The Fair Pay Agreements System: A Guide for Participants [PDF 2.1MB]


The Fair Pay Agreements system brings together unions and employer associations (the bargaining sides) to bargain for employment terms for all covered employees in an industry or occupation. This means that these organisations will meet to discuss and agree on a set of employment terms for the work being done within an industry or occupation.

Overview of Fair Pay Agreements

Duty of good faith

There is a duty of good faith that exists between specific parties involved in the Fair Pay Agreement system. This means that these parties must not do anything to mislead or deceive each other, whether directly or indirectly. The duty of good faith aligns with how good faith works under the Employment Relations Act. This includes a duty of good faith between:

  • bargaining parties on the same side. For example, where there is more than one union on the employee side, each union must work with each other in good faith
  • bargaining parties on different bargaining sides. For example, each union on the employee bargaining side must act in good faith towards the employer bargaining parties on the employer bargaining side.
  1. an employer and their employee
  2. an employer and a union that is an employee bargaining party (but not the default bargaining party)
  3. a union bargaining party and a member of the union bargaining party
  4. a union bargaining party and a member of another union bargaining party, where both union bargaining parties are bargaining for the same proposed agreement or proposed variation
  5. a union bargaining party and a member of another union bargaining party, where both union bargaining parties are bargaining parties for the same Fair Pay Agreement
  6. an employee bargaining party and another employee bargaining party, where both employee bargaining parties are bargaining for the same proposed agreement or proposed variation
  7. an employee bargaining party and another employee bargaining party, where both employee bargaining parties are bargaining parties for the same Fair Pay Agreement
  8. an employer bargaining party and another employer bargaining party, where both employer bargaining parties are bargaining for the same proposed agreement or proposed variation
  9. an employer bargaining party and another employer bargaining party, where both employer bargaining parties are bargaining parties for the same Fair Pay Agreement
  10. the employee bargaining parties on the employee bargaining side and the employer bargaining parties on the employer bargaining side, where both bargaining sides are bargaining for the same proposed agreement or proposed variation
  11. the employee bargaining parties on the employee bargaining side and the employer bargaining parties on the employer bargaining side, where both bargaining sides are bargaining parties for the same Fair Pay Agreement.

Bargaining parties on the same side – interparty agreement

Within 20 days of a bargaining side forming, bargaining parties on the same side must:

  • agree an interparty side agreement, which sets out how they will make bargaining decisions
  • appoint a bargaining side lead advocate who is the primary spokesperson for the bargaining side. The lead advocate also represents the bargaining side in bargaining for the proposed Fair Pay Agreement and chairs the bargaining parties on their side during bargaining.

If the bargaining side lead advocate steps down, the bargaining side must elect a new one within 20 working days.

A copy of the inter-party agreement must be provided to the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) as soon as practicable after it is due (20 working days after the bargaining side forms). 

Duties between bargaining parties on opposite sides

The obligations that apply between bargaining parties on the different bargaining sides are based on the requirements that apply to different bargaining sides when bargaining for a collective agreement. These include:

  • using their best efforts to set out a process to bargain effectively and efficiently (the Bargaining Process Agreement)
  • using their best efforts to agree the terms of the proposed agreement, and
  • providing information requested to substantiate claims or responses to claims made during bargaining.

Specified breaches of the duty of good faith can result in a penalty being applied by the Employment Relations Authority.

Learn about the specific requirements for the employee bargaining side:

Employee bargaining side – specific requirements

More information

Support during bargaining

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Page last revised: 01 December 2022

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