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MPI provoking industrial dispute by walking out of pay talks

MPI provoking industrial dispute by walking out of pay talks

The Public Service Association is accusing the Ministry for Primary Industries of deliberately provoking a dispute and risking industrial action by seeking to reduce the conditions of employment for staff.

The PSA met with the Ministry earlier this week as part of collective agreement negotiations and to respond to the Ministry’s claims and claw backs, but after refusing to shift its position, the Ministry chose to walk away from the negotiating table.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says “there are some serious issues around the Ministry’s provocative negotiating position. It’s not acceptable for MPI to come to the table with a take-it or leave-it approach and refuse to address what are valid proposals put forward by employees.”

“What the Ministry is trying to do is take away a number of hard fought employment conditions, arbitrarily change rosters and working hours , and present a new collective agreement which will essentially deliver a zero pay increase to the majority of staff.”

MPI is being intransigent and continues to insist that pay is not a subject for negotiation for the majority of staff.

As a result of the merger of MAF, Fisheries and Food Safety Authority, MPI has three different collective agreements.

Richard Wagstaff says it appears MPI is doing what it said it wouldn’t do, and is taking the opportunity to reduce pay and conditions by taking the lowest common denominators from the three contracts and seeking to apply them across the board.

The PSA is claiming a 3% pay increase for all staff from July 2012 and 2.5% for each of the following two years. MPI’s position is to offer a 1.5% increase to border staff, while the rest are expected to have their pay set at the discretion of management.

“MPI staff work hard to support and protect New Zealand’s essential industries, our native flora and fauna and the health of New Zealanders. They all deserve to have an expectation of a reasonable pay increase and a fair and transparent remuneration system” Mr Wagstaff says.

PSA members at MPI are now planning unpaid stopwork meetings next month to consider and vote on a plan of escalating industrial action.
The PSA is urging MPI to return to the negotiating table to try and discuss the issues in a reasoned and meaningful way.

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