Screen industry workers Bill introduced to support contractors.

New Zealand recognises contractor importance.

The government in New Zealand has introduced the Screen Industry Workers Bill to Parliament. The Bill proposes a new model, developed by industry and supported by government, to allow screen industry contractors to bargain collectively.

Key aspects of the bill include:

  • Whether a screen production worker is a contractor or an employee will continue to be determined solely by the type of written agreement they have. A “screen production worker” is a person involved in the creation of films, programmes, commercials and games.
  • A new duty of good faith will require parties to a contract not to mislead or deceive one another.
  • Contractors in the screen industry will be able to bargain collectively in their occupational groups and at the production/company level.
  • Workers must have written contracts with mandatory terms about contract termination and protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment.
  • A tiered dispute resolution system will support parties to resolve issues that may arise, including access to mediation and facilitation.

Currently, most workers in New Zealand’s screen industry are contractors who cannot challenge their employment status. They are therefore not entitled to employment rights, including the right to negotiate working conditions collectively. In 2018, the government brought together industry, business and worker representatives to design a model that allows collective bargaining in the screen industry. The government has agreed to their recommendations, and has now introduced the Screen Industry Workers Bill to implement them.

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