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IRD Staff Face High Risk For Low Pay

Tuesday 2 August 05

IRD Staff Face High Risk For Low Pay

“The white powder incident involving Inland Revenue Department (IRD) workers today is another demonstration that they face high risk for low pay,” said Martin Cooney, Organiser of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE). He was commenting on reports that staff members had been taken to hospital as a precaution after an unidentified powder was discovered in mail sent to IRD.

“IRD front line staff face continuing threats from irate tax payers who believe they have been put out of business by IRD,” said Martin Cooney. “Workers are regularly threatened by the use of powder in the mail, bomb warnings and members of the public alleging they know where they live. Staff on phones regularly hear taxpayers threatening to kill themselves if IRD proceeds.”

“The same front line staff facing the risks are the ones who receive the lowest pay,” said Martin Cooney. “IRD workers received from 1 April this year an average 1.89% increase in pay for the year. Inflation was 2.8% so they received (on average) a real pay cut. In general, the averaging of pay increases worked out so that the lower a worker's pay, the less the percentage rise that was applied by IRD.”

“Some staff are left on a wage that cannot be lived on - a returns officer for example starts on $22,452 or under $11 an hour. Yet the revenue they raise (per hour of work by staff) is valued at around $230. The Government surplus of over $7b arises from paying these at risk workers much less that the value they contribute.”

“NUPE calls on the Government to recognise the great job their workers do and put in the funds to urgently settle its Collective Agreement,” said Martin Cooney.

ENDS

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