Government's Fair Pay Agreements will drive up costs for businesses and is 'another step back to the 1970s' -National

The National Party says Fair Pay Agreements being introduced by the Government will drive up costs for businesses.

The Government announced today that former Prime Minister Jim Bolger will lead a Government working group of business people and unions that'll flesh out the new system for negotiating pay and conditions.

But National's Workplace Relations spokesperson Scott Simpson says Fair Pay Agreements are "another step in going back to the 1970s".

"There won't be an opportunity for individual businesses to employ people on their own terms. And it'll be bad for employees just as much as it is for employers," Mr Simpson said.

Mr Bolger was a Minister of Labour under the National Party before his time as Prime Mininster. He believes there needs to be a new way of working to ensure no one misses out.

"There's extreme wealth at one end, and frankly extreme poverty at another end. I don't find that a successful model," he said.

Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says the Fair Pay Agreement system "is one of the most significant changes that a Government has proposed to the industrial relations framework for many years". 

And he said Mr Bolger "is exactly the right man to pull that team together" as chair of the working group.

Fair Pay Agreements allow bosses and unions to work together to set minimum terms and conditions for all workers in that industry.

"The best example of this is the care and support worker settlement where everyone is a care and support worker. No matter who their employer is, regardless of whether they are in a union or not, they now have a set of minimum terms and conditions," Mr Lees-Galloway said.

There were concerns that could lead to industry-wide strikes, so the Government is banning them. 

"There are other ways to deal with impasses and disagreements than just industrial action," the Minister said.

The agreements won't be available until at least next year.

Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger will lead the Fair Pay Agreements. Source: 1 NEWS