The Restoration of Compulsory Unionism
There has been a long-standing assumption that union membership will be required of most private sector workers in New Zealand. This assumption was sharply reversed in 1983, when the National Government of the day introduced voluntary unionism. In the following year the newly-elected Labour Government introduced legislation restoring compulsory unionism, the Industrial Relations Amendment Act 1985, which finally took effect on July 1 1985. These developments crystallised the arguments both for and against compulsory union membership and the debate was extended with the introduction of the draft Bill of Rights, which provided for freedom of associationl, and the discussion following the Green Paper "Industrial Relations: A Framework for Review". The union membership debate raises issues of considerable complexity. At one end of the discussion, tension arises between the contrasting demands of individual and collective interests. At the other extreme, there is disagreement as to the practical effect either of the forms of union membership will have upon individual workers or upon the performance of industrial unions.