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PSA targets quality jobs and quality pay

7 March 2005

PSA targets quality jobs and quality pay

Public Service Association (PSA) members across the country are being briefed this week on the union’s plan to secure better pay and working conditions across the public sector.

The PSA is New Zealand’s largest union of public sector workers, as well as local government employees and a large number of workers in the health sector. A pay case has already been submitted for health sector workers and the PSA is currently developing an approach for local government workers.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said workers in the public sector are making a big contribution to the success of the New Zealand economy, and to improved public services, and it is time their efforts are better recognised.

“Luck has not driven New Zealand’s economic success. Public servants have played a major role realising government policies which are helping to secure continued prosperity.

“The Partnership for Quality agreement the PSA renewed with the government in 2003 has also pushed welcome change in the public sector. Public services have improved and better and more rewarding career pathways are being developed, but more progress is needed. “Now it’s time to seek higher pay and better working conditions for workers across the public sector.

“We want the public sector to be an employer of choice offering diverse and rewarding career pathways. The PSA is pursuing a range of improvements:

quality pay: since 1991, the general movement in public sector pay has been less than in the health, private and education sectors;

quality careers: improved public sector-wide employment standards will support good career development;

quality workplaces: workplace hazards need to be removed or safely managed and workloads need to be manageable so public servants can balance home and work life;

equitable jobs: women in the public sector earn on average 16 percent less than men, a problem exacerbated by pay rates being excluded from many public sector collective employment agreements;

quality rights: all employees, including managers and technicians, should have the right to join the PSA and be covered by a collective agreement, and

quality leave: improvements to annual leave entitlements should be written into collective agreements rather than being reliant on legislative change.

“We are not seeking unified across-the-board improvements because the current terms and conditions of employment differ from organisation to organisation.

“As each collective agreement comes up for negotiation PSA members at those workplaces will determine how to use the framework we have launched today.

“We will also be working with employers outside of negotiations to achieve these gains. For example by working jointly on statements of intent, PSA members can ensure their employers are able to invest in career development, equitable pay and other important gains,” Richard Wagstaff said.

Note to editors: briefing meetings are being held in Wellington and Lower Hutt (Monday); Whangarei, Kaitaia, Wanganui and New Plymouth (Tuesday); Christchurch, Rotorua and Tauranga (Wednesday); Hamilton, Dunedin and Invercargill (Thursday) and Palmerston North, Auckland, Manukau, Napier, Gisborne, Greymouth, Nelson and Timaru (Friday).


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