Red Alert

About Part 6A again

Posted by on December 2nd, 2012

Part 6A in the Employment Relations Act means little to most people, but it means a lot for thousands of cleaners, catering workers, orderlies and laundry workers, whose jobs are prone to repetitive contracting out.

After a two year review, the government’s announcement last month that Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act would be limited to workplaces with more than 20 workers sent me looking for why this decision had been made.

The OIA documents I obtained showed that the Government ignored warnings about excluding SMEs from the Department of Labour and Sapere Consultancy, who was contracted by the government earlier this year to determine a “cost benefit analysis.”  The idea of excluding SMEs was not covered in earlier papers going right back to 2010, but this year a May 18 Aide Memoire from the Minister asked the department :

Would it be possible to exempt small businesses from Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act 2000?

Both Sapere Research and the Department of Labour criticised the idea of excluding SME’s from Part 6A.  Sapere considered this as a possible amendment to Part 6A of the Act but commented that:

“..From what we heard from interviews and found with our subsequent analysis, it seems likely that restricting the special protections to only large employers would be counter-productive and lead to even more perverse outcomes than the current arrangements. This is because it would result in transfer situations where one party had to be compliant and the other did not, leading in all likelihood to a breakdown in the exercising of the provisions at all.

The Department of Labour also concluded it would be ‘‘counter-productive and lead to even more perverse outcomes than the current arrangements’’.

This option was flagged a couple of times in later reports but did not make it into the last of three Cabinet Policy Papers which were presented in or around early September. Then in late September DOL (now MoBIE) was asked to again look into the option of excluding SME’s.  They stated that this would reduce compliance costs for SME’s but would add a layer of complexity to Part 6A. They noted that large employers would be undercut by smaller ones in bidding for contracts.

A later paper by MoBIE outlines the plan to prevent large companies from creating smaller entities, by establishing a “test of independence” which they warned would “add another layer of complexity and uncertainty to this process”.

So, there will be a new provision in the Employment Relations Act which removes the rights of more than 6000 workers, adds more complexity and cost to business and will doubtless end up in expensive litigation.

There’s been a campaign from Crest Clean over the year, aided and abetted by others, including Rodney Hide who wrote two articles for the NBR slamming Part 6A. And you don’t have to look far in CrestClean to find a National Party stalwart.

There are interests here that have persuaded the government to go beyond sensible and workable change. That’s not unusual for this lot, but I know who will pay the price for it.


20 Responses to “About Part 6A again”

  1. David says:

    Looks like a successful campaign against Part 6A then. But I do have to say that Rodney’s articles in the NBR highlight some serious concerns about how Part 6A is working in reality.

    No wants to see vulnerable workers exploited, but people have a choice about who they work for. No one is forcing them to go and work for another company when contracts change.

    Put it this way, if a cleaner was happy, enjoyed working and interacting with people and did a great job, the client employing them wouldn’t want to change cleaners in the first place.

    But when a company is unhappy with the performance of a worker (i.e. a cleaner) and decides to change to a new company hoping to get a better level of service, why should they suddenly have to accept that same worker back again? All part 6A is doing is forcing the transfer of a poor performer onto another company. And that’s not right. Sounds like communism to me.

  2. Dave says:

    Sorry to interupt your attempt to vilify Crest Cleaning, Darien (after all ALL bosses are the enemy, right? 😉 ), but thought this article might interest you. “CrestClean sets up training body”. Looks like a pretty generous thing to do.

    Also it appears they are growing and employing more people NOT less – “CrestClean added 100 staff members to its businesses this year and expected to add another 250 next year. Total staff numbers this year were 1100.” Anothe great employer expanding and employing more New Zealanders – surely a time to celebrate, rather than denigrate ?

  3. Darien Fenton says:

    @dave : yes saw that. There’s more to that story. I’ve got the Cabinet papers. You haven’t.
    @David : the good old everyone has a choice and let’s blame the workers theory. Heard it all before.

  4. Dave says:

    Darien thats hardly a response. Are you saying that employing more people is not a good thing? Are you saying that upskilling and training workers is not a good thing? Is it the absence of union involvement that grates you so? Are you saying even in the face of these actions by this company you continue to hold the view they are dealing with people in an underhand way? If so, I find that remarkable. If you indeed have “the cabinet papers” and they support your view, perhaps you’ll share them to let everyone else make up their minds on this issue? Otherwise its a case of your word against tangible evidence, is it not?

  5. Ryan says:

    @David all unions read from the same Communist manifesto…

    @Darien In a industry which is so Labour intensive why do you continue to ignore the blinding fact that poorly trained staff are the issue here? Do you agree that Part 6a is a disncentive for companies to train their staff?

    Perhaps your cabniet papers have evidence that will prove this statement wrong?

    Hmm thanks for the atricle Dave, it would seem after reading this article that Crest has obviously recognised the importance of proper training and implemented a world class training sytem specifically designed for its workforce? Now please what is the damming evidence to show that this is a ‘bad thing’?

  6. bbfloyd says:

    I see we have a particularly virulent set of tory apologists crowding in here today…. This must be worrying the raiding party, if they have felt the need to attack so stridently…

    Apart from the laughabe reasoning behind most of the critisism (pure ignorance, dressed up as vitriol… not one of those “geniuses” have answered my question…

    What would be the motivation for shedding an existing workforce, and re-hiring either new workers, or existing workers after the “takeover”??

    One reason, and one reason alone stands out as the main motivator for this despicable behavior… to cut the wage bill….

    Whatever reasons can be dreamed up will suffice, as the workers being maligned, and sidelined have no recourse to speak for themselves, or indeed any representative body that could force a rethink of these unhumane tactics…

    The current raiding party has ensured that workers rights to a fair hearing have been eradicated..(a fact which the despicable apologists playing at being erudite know, and applaud)..

    it has now become simplicity itself to demonise any workforce the jackals of the corporate world decides has become an impediment to the gathering of maximum profit, in the short term..(as we well know, short term gain is the only principle this government is interested in…(the labour party can worry about all that inconvenient “long term” rubbish)

    The stark reality is that, if a worker isn’t up to scratch, what was stopping the old employer from sacking them? And don’t waste my time with drivel about workers rights stopping this from happening….. What rights? I happen to know a few cleaners( my drummer is one, for instance), and they have been under the cosh now for years…

    Simply put(so that even a tory coud understand).. the drive behind this attack on the last vestiges of protection from corporations, and business owners greed, is quite literally, short term profit…..

    This is not only unhealthy, but ultimately self defeating…But you won’t find a tory willing, or able to grasp this concept, as it requires a level of humanity they simply don’t possess….How sad for New Zealand…

  7. Dave says:

    @bbfloyd, “Tory apologists” Bah. I would no more apologise for my political beliefs than you would yours. I imagine being a Labour apologist has its moments for you though.

  8. Dave says:

    @bbfloyd, “Tory apologists” Bah. I would no more apologise for my political beliefs than you would yours. I imagine being a Labour apologist has its moments for you though.

  9. John Ryall says:

    Good post Darien and the normal criticisms have surfaced in response to you.

    What these responses have not justified is having gone through more than two years of advisory committees, consultants and various other bodies who have all said that Part 6A is fulfilling its original objectives, at the last minute they have announced a provision to exempt SMEs from its provisions.

    This means that employers with less than 20 employees will be given a market advantage over employers with 20 or more employees.

    As well as leading to countless legal cases on whether an employer is an SME or not, it is nutty economically. No wonder the Government has bypassed their normal regulatory review report and the details of the legislation have taken so long to emerge.

  10. bbfloyd says:

    @dave…An inability to grasp the meaning behind “tory apologist” doesn’t absolve you of the responsbility to respond intelligently, or with maturity…. try to remember that next time you are exposed making excuses for greed informed by bigotry…..

    Now… try to make a relevant comment on the ISSUE……If there really is any real argument to be made that shows any positive outcomes from this particular attack on ordinary New Zealanders….

    @John Ryall…. The imbalances you speak of are a fairly run of the mill outcome of most industrial/commercial legislation passed by tory governments….

    This leads me to question the motivation(apart from class hatred)for this change….Who are the companies gaining advantage?, and how closely connected are the owners, and potential owners, to the national party?

    The potential for, yet more corrupt lawmaking(crony capatalism) is obvious, once the possibility of this being no more than an attack on workers rights, carried out disguised under a layer of “payola” is recognised as a factor.

  11. The Al1en says:

    Charades, and it isn’t even the Christmas party.

    It’s a film.

    “@bbfloyd, “Tory apologists” Bah.”

    Second syllable, sounds like hood.



  12. the pigman says:


    On one hand you have Ryan (no posts from “Ryan’s friend” in this thread though) who turns up only in posts about (the entity formerly known as) Crest Commercial Cleaning Ltd to laud them as a company, has an intricate (but skewed) view of the litigation they’ve been involved in and their training policies and.. welll.. is yet to disclose his financial interest in CCCL and posting here.

    And on the other hand you have Dave. He’s right about one thing though: “tory apologist” is by far too kind a word for him.

    @aliens – I suck at charades. Traumatized by a childhood filled with re-runs of Give Us a Clue with Michael Parkinson (sp?) First syllable please. How many syllables, do the actions, etc.

  13. The Al1en says:

    “Traumatized by a childhood filled with re-runs of Give Us a Clue with Michael Parkinson”.

    Surprised any of us made it out alive – Lionel Blair and Una Stubbs. Say no more. 😆

    “First syllable please. How many syllables, do the actions, etc.”

    Just ’cause you asked.

    Another film.
    Three words, four syllables.
    (Swirly arm movement) Doing the whole thing at once.

    Dave, clearly out of his depths, arguing the toss on behalf of a dodgy cleaning company, happily sh*tting all over the less fortunate in our society, consistently coming up against rock solid and withering put downs like – “Simply put(so that even a tory coud understand)”.

    Got it yet?

    Dances with Wolves.

    Dave 😆

  14. Allyson says:

    Yes. If we can model the cleaning industry on the Labor party they will be perfect.

    Unsackable old timers . .

    Cleaners got no place else to go . .why bother huh?

    Honesty and integrity . you choose. Theres no punishment!

  15. Ryan says:

    @ John Ryall (National Secretary of the SFWU), I can agree with you on one thing that the amendments that the government has made the legislation more complicated and will lead to more struggles in the employment courts.

    How can you justify that there has been proper industry consultation when the main body supposedly representing cleaning employees, the Building Services Contractors is incompetent and have had no industry consultation with the DoL in the past 3 years leading up to former Minster Wilkinson’s announcement a couple of months ago?

  16. Darien Fenton says:

    @Ryan : Hello Young Nat. Are you the one who works for Crest Clean as their procurement manager?
    @Allyson : your comments are just silly.

  17. Ryan says:

    Wish I was Darien, that way I would be protected by this fantasic legislation. Well maybe, I guess thats another grey area of Part 6A that a employment court can stew over.

  18. bbfloyd says:

    Sigh… can you get any sillier young ryan? this is an important issue for many, many low paid, and insecure workers…and the best you can do is personal denigration? No surprises that Darien hasn’t bothered to dignify your drivel with a reply…

    As has been stated on this comment section(not just by me), if there were any good reason to undermine this law, there would be coherent argument supporting it….But as there isn’t, we are treated to the gambit of reactionary slogans, which rely utterly on bigotry born of ignorance, and greed….

    Not the way “grownups” are supposed to arrive at sensible solutions…

  19. John Ryall says:

    Ryan – while I am not holding a torch for the Building Service Contractors of NZ, I can tell you that I was on the same advisory DOL advisory committee in 2010 as Brian Young, who at that time was the President of BSCNZ.

    Thanks for the acknowledgement that the proposed amendments to Part 6A to excluse contractors employing under 20 staff will make the legislation a nightmare for contractors in the cleaning and catering sectors and for the rights of workers who have been protected by these provisions.

  20. Peter says:

    It is obvious that “Dave” is really Grant Mclauchlan or another Crest employee. It is a matter of public record that Crest not only enjoys involving itself in smear campaigns but two employment court cases that Crest lost highlighted Crest’s callous dealings with staff and disregard for the law. (Deleted : possibly defamatory, but comment noted – Darien). This is the calibre of ‘men’ who are running Crest. So you have to ask – Why the do the likes of Rodney Hide support such people? What is really behind all of this? Given the type of people involved – you can be sure it will not be honorable and likely unlawful.