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WAGE INCREASES

IN FUTURE AWARDS

ARBITRATION COURT POLICY

In view of recent amendments to the stabilisation regulations and certain complications which have arisen as a result, the • Arbitration Court now thinks that, except were the relevant circumstances make it advisable to decide differently, it will be of advantage if the increases in hourly and weekly rates for adult male workers when being determined in the light of its recent pronouncement- are calculated on the basis of the same amount per hour. This fact is mentioned by Mr. Justice Tyndall in a memorandum issued by the Court in respect to an amendment to the cardboard boxmakers' award.

"The general situation under the regulations has recently undergone a change," states his Honor. "On June 15, 1945, further important amendments were made to the regulations. Included in these amendments is a provision that, in making any future general order under the Rates of Wages Emergency Regulations, 1940, the Court shall take into account, inter alia, any Increase or reduction in rates of remuneration since December 15, 1942. The general orders of 1940 and 1942 provided for increases on a percentage basis, with special limitations in the case of the 1942 order. If any further general order is made in the future it appears likely that such order will be of a character similar to the 1940 or the 1942 order.

Complicating Factors So far as the percentage of increase is concerned, the general orders already made have recognised no differentiation between hourly and weekly workers," adds his Honor. "As, under recent amendments, the Court, in making any general order in future, is required to take into account any increases or reductions in rates of remuneration since December 15. 1942, it now appears desirable that any adjustments in rates of general scope should possess some degree of uniformity, so that, when considering a future order of general application, the Court will be faced with a minimum of confusion in complying with the direction to have regard to past increases. "The situation, however, is complicated by the following factors:— (1) In making any amendments of awards or apprenticeship orders the Court was directed, and is still directed by regulation 38, that it shall not have regard to any fluctuations in the cost of living. (2) In making any general order under the Rates of Wages Emergency Regulations in future, the Court is required by regulation 42 to take into account any rise or fall in the cost of living, as indicated by the Wartime Price Index since December 15, 1942. (3) The general order of 1942 did not grant all workers a uniform percentage increase on the whole of their prescribed rates, and, in making any such general order in future the Court is empowered by regulation 43 to exclude from the scope of the order such portion of the remuneration in each week of the workers affected by the order as exceeds the amount determined by. the Court, which amount may be varied as the Court thinks fit in the case of female workers, junior workers and apprentices respectively. "So far as the hourly and weekly rates for adult male workers are concerned, in view of the recent amendments of the regulations and the above-mentioned complications, the Court now thinks that, except in cases where the relevant circumstances make it advisable or necessary to decide differently, it will be of advantage if the increases in these rates, when being determined in the light of the Court's recent pronouncement, are calculated on the basis of the same amount per hour." Another reason advanced by the Court is that in some agreements between employers and workers decisions have been made on a uniform hourly basis for hourly and weekly workers, while in others the increase for those on day wages was 3id an hour for a 40-hour week, and the weekly workers got increases of only 10/ a week instead of 11/8.

Dissenting Opinion

In a dissenting opinion, Mr. W. Cecil Prime says: "I do not agree that the last amendment to the Stabilisation Regulations imposes any necessity to increase weekly wage rates by the same amount per hour as the hourly rates are increased. The Court has been given no fresh direction, express or implied, and it should preserve its right to deal with weekly rates as such without direct reference to the amount of hourly rates. Nor do. I agree that the relatively few cases in which employers have agreed to increase weekly wages by 11/8 a week constitute a sufficient precedent to justify the Court in following it. Those cases in which greater amounts than 11/8 have been agreed upon constitute a separate class in which it is obvious that special considerations have "been given weight, otherwise the Court should not have approved them for the purpose of the regulations." This memo is attached to an amendment made in the Northern and Wellington Cardboard Box, Carton and Paperbag Makers' Award, granting increases of 3Jd an hour to all adult workers whether paid on the hourly or the weekly rate, with increases of 4/2 a week upwards for juniors.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450720.2.20

Bibliographic details

WAGE INCREASES, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

Word Count
855

WAGE INCREASES Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

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