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Statistics NZ Staff Walking Off The Job

PSA MEDIA RELEASE
November 21, 2007
For Immediate Use

Statistics NZ Staff Walking Off The Job

Staff at Statistics NZ, who belong to the PSA, are walking off the job
tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock and will not return to work for the rest
of the day.

The walk out will occur at Statistics NZ offices in Auckland, Wellington and
Christchurch.

"These workers are going on strike because the department continues to
refuse to let the bulk of them negotiate their pay," says Richard Wagstaff,
National Secretary of the PSA which represents more than 550 Statistics NZ
staff.

"They're frustrated that Statistics NZ continues to ignore Government
bargaining parameters," says Richard Wagstaff. "The parameters state that
government departments are expected to negotiate minimum pay rates and
include these in collective agreements."

"The Government recognises that workers should be able to negotiate
improvements in their rates of pay," says Richard Wagstaff. "But Statistics
NZ has been denying that right to the bulk of its staff since their
negotiations began way back in June."

They're also angry that the department insists on paying its field
interviewers, who go into people's homes to gather data, less than their
office-based staff who interview people by phone.

"This is simply unfair," says Richard Wagstaff. "There's no justification
for paying field interviewers less than office based interviewers when
they're doing the same type of work."

Field interviewers earning the starting rate of $14 an hour are paid $3.18
an hour less than phone interviewers. Those on the top rate, of $16.50 an
hour, earn $4.40 less.

As well as stopping work at 2pm tomorrow, (November 22) and striking for the
rest of the afternoon, Statistics NZ staff will continue with other
industrial action.

Office staff will continue an overtime ban that began on September 30. Field
interviewers will maintain their ban on submitting price change data that's
used to compile the Food Price Index (FPI) and the Cost Price Index (CPI).

The field interviewers are still gathering the information from retail
outlets, such as supermarkets and petrol stations, but stopped sending it to
Statistics NZ on November 4. This ban will continue until the end of the
month. Normally they send the department sheets updating prices charged for
fruit, vegetables and petrol, every week.

"The four week ban on submitting this data will disrupt Statistics NZ's
efforts to compile the FPI and CPI that measure the level of inflation in
the economy," says Richard Wagstaff

These are key economic indicators that are monitored closely by the
financial world, the business sector and the government.

"Statistics NZ staff are well aware that many people rely on the information
they produce and are not taking industrial action lightly," says Richard
Wagstaff. "But they feel they've been left no choice because the department
is refusing to take their legitimate claims seriously."

Statistics NZ Staff walk out rally in Wellington
Where: Statistics NZ House
On the Wellington waterfront near the NZ Rugby Union head office and
opposite the stadium.
Time: 2pm the staff walk out of Statistics NZ House and gather for the
rally.
Date: Thursday November 22.

ends

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