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PSA Lifts Some Strike Action By DOL

PSA MEDIA RELEASE June 3, 2008

For Immediate Use

PSA Lifts Some Strike Action By Department of Labour Staff

As a result of progress in negotiations with the Department of Labour, staff who belong to the PSA have lifted some of their strike action.

"We made some progress during negotiations last week so we have lifted strike notices for this week and half of next week," says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

More than 750 workers - including border security officers, health and safety inspectors, labour inspectors and industrial mediators - were due to begin a series of two- our strikes this week.

They are seeking an improved pay offer and want to scrap their current pay setting system because it's confusing, inconsistent and unfair.

Notices for two-hour strikes remain in place for Friday June 12 and Monday June 16. New notices will be issued for two- hour strikes from Tuesday June 17 until Thursday June 19.

Border security staff monitor passengers arriving on international flights at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports. They have the power to refuse entry to passengers who are trying to enter New Zealand illegally.

Other staff involved in the dispute include: health and safety inspectors who enforce health and safety requirements at workplaces and investigate accidents at work; labour inspectors who ensure workers receive the conditions they're entitled to; mediators who help employers and workers solve workplace problems and immigration officers.

Department of Labour staff involved in the dispute have begun low level industrial action. Yesterday, Monday June 2, they began a ban on overtime, doing unpaid work and attending department conferences and training.

"They're taking this action for an improved pay offer and because their current pay setting system is confusing, inconsistent and unfair," says Richard Wagstaff.

They've rejected an offer of a 3% pay rise and are seeking a 4% increase. They also want their performance management system scrapped and replaced with a fair and transparent system for setting their pay.

"They've lost faith in their performance management system because it's unfair and doesn't work," says Richard Wagstaff. "They're being assessed and told they deserve a pay rise of a certain amount but then receive a lower increase."

Under the current system the average starting salary for some jobs is more than the average salary paid to people who've been doing the job for several years.

The PSA surveyed Department of Labour staff about the performance management system. Almost 200 responded. Asked if the system provides a fair, transparent and easily understood method of delivering increases to salary, 87% said 'no'. Asked if the system had contributed to their productivity, and therefore aided the department in meeting its objectives, 80% said 'no'.

The PSA is seeking the introduction of new salary system in which pay scales and the salary progression system are fair, transparent and included in the staff collective agreement. Negotiations are due to resume next early next week.


ENDS

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