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Statistics NZ Staff Walking Off The Job

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.”

ENDS

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