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RNZ News

Television New Zealand has breached its collective agreement with the E tū union when deciding on discontinuing programmes, the Employment Relations Authority has ruled.

It was announced in March that 68 staff members who work for news programmes Midday and Tonight, consumer justice programme Fair Go, current affairs programme Sunday, and the youth programme Re: and in-house video content production were affected by redundancy.

Last month, the company confirmed the axing of Fair Go and Sunday, along with its midday and late night news bulletins.

Yesterday, the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) ordered the broadcaster to go into mediation with E tū union.

“The Authority finds that TVNZ has breached cl 10.1.1 of the collective agreement,” the ruling stated.

It said that if after mediation, matters were not resolved, an order would be made against TVNZ to comply with its collective agreement.

Executives, staff gave evidence
TVNZ executives and staff were among those giving evidence in an investigation meeting at the ERA in Auckland on Monday relating to the state broadcaster’s alleged breaches in its redundancy process.

E tū union took the case against TVNZ, arguing the company did not follow the consultation requirements under its collective agreement with its members.

E tū wants more of a role in the initial decision-making, which it said TVNZ was obliged to do under the collective agreement.

But TVNZ opposed the application, claiming there had been no breach and that the company had clearly communicated to staff and unions that redundancies would take place.

In a statement, TVNZ said: “We are disappointed by the decision today from the Employment Relations Authority. We will now take the time to consider the decision and our next steps”.

Staff still employed
E tū negotiator Michael Wood told RNZ Checkpoint yesterday that the determination was a very clear one and any redundancy notices that had been issued were therefore not valid.

Staff still continue to be employed during this mediation because “there has not been a legitimate process to result in their redundancies”, Wood said.

It had been a “botched process”, he said.

E tū negotiator Michael Wood
E tū negotiator Michael Wood . . . a “botched process” by TVNZ. Image: RNZ

“If you have an agreement with someone that says you’re going to work through something in a particular way, you need to follow it and TVNZ did not follow it in this case and the ERA has affirmed that.”

It had been an incredibly disruptive time for stuff and they were “really happy about this outcome”, Wood said.

The ERA said the clause that TVNZ had breached was an uncommon provision, but Wood said the company signed off on it.

“We would like to meet as soon as we reasonably can.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by Pacific Media Watch.


[1] New Zealand | RNZ News ➤[2] TVNZ did not follow 'proper process' of sharing information with employees, union argues | RNZ News ➤[3] TVNZ looks to axe Fair Go, Sunday, midday and night news in restructure | RNZ News ➤[4] TVNZ staff cuts | Search Results | Asia Pacific Report ➤