As this dispute finally winds its way to a successful conclusion, members who still have not repaid the alleged overpayments are strongly urged to resist pressure to do so.

The brief facts are:

  1. The employer alleged it had made an overpayment in 2007, being one component (the officership payment) of a lump sum, unparticularised, backpay payment.

  2. The NZPFU asked for a breakdown of the payment, so as to check whether and to what extent the lump sum contained an overpayment.

  3. The employer declined to provide this.

  4. The employer then issued proceedings against a large number of union members.

  5. At the request of the Employment Relations Authority, the NZPFU cooperated by identifying 6 individuals in a kind of “test case”.

  6. The Authority found in favour of the employer, but required that no recovery steps be taken until there had been further discussion.

  7. The further discussion has not taken place.

  8. In the meantime, the NZPFU appealed to the Employment Court. In particular, the NZPFU challenged a finding that its request for particulars of the payment was a “red herring”.

  9. On 8 March 2011, the Employment Court ordered the employer to provide the particulars requested, for the six named Plaintiffs. (This is in effect what the Union has been seeking all along). This information is required to be provided by 18 March 2011. In making the order, the Court noted that the Union has informed it once the information is provided, this is highly likely to resolve the whole dispute.

  10. Members should take no further steps at this time. Another Notice will be provided shortly after 18 March 2011.

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