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Negotiations leave borders exposed


Negotiations leave borders exposed

There is a real possibility that New Zealand’s borders could be unprotected over the busy Christmas period if the Ministry of Primary Industries does not settle wage negotiations with frontline biosecurity staff, says Labour’s spokesperson for Primary Industries Damien O’Connor.

His comments follow news that frontline staff at airports and ports around the country have had to resort to industrial action in response to the Ministry’s refusal to negotiate a new collective agreement in good faith.

The Ministry has been accused of deliberately provoking a dispute for some months with its ‘take it or leave it’ approach to the terms of the new collective agreement.

“The National Government is once again putting New Zealand’s future at risk by squeezing wages for frontline biosecurity staff. It has to realise that starving biosecurity services of funding and not paying decent wages to frontline staff will result in more skilled people leaving New Zealand for jobs elsewhere.

“The Ministry of Primary Industries must resolve this pay dispute and ensure the experience and wisdom of hard-working frontline staff is not ignored through the pay negotiation process,” Damien O’Connor said.

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