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Ministry of Justice denying staff proper redundancy rights

PSA Media Release Header

7 December 2012

Ministry of Justice denying staff proper redundancy rights

The Public Service Association says the Ministry of Justice is colluding with a private contractor to deny staff their proper redundancy rights.

Following a significant restructure at the Ministry’s head office, ICT services are being contracted out to the private company Fujitsu. As a result over 50 staff have had their jobs disestablished and some are now being offered employment with Fujitsu.

The PSA has been informed that those staff are now being asked to sign a waiver before they can formally accept a position with Fujitsu which waives current rights to terms and conditions including redundancy entitlements. It also waives any right to future grievances against the Ministry or Fujitsu.

“The Ministry’s actions are deplorable,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“It means staff are being told they’ve lost their job with the Ministry of Justice and if they take a job with Fujitsu, even on lower pay and conditions, the Ministry won’t honour their redundancy entitlements. Their years of service will also count for nothing.”

“The Ministry is colluding with the private sector to wriggle out of its obligations to provide proper redundancy provisions and we believe it is in clear breach of collective and individual employment agreements,” he says.

The PSA says the government is already trying to diminish the redundancy rights of public sector workers through proposed amendments to the State Sector Act. The legislation will see public sector workers denied redundancy if they take a job in another government department.

Richard Wagstaff says the Ministry of Justice is taking that much further by extending it to private contractors.

“It sends some very worrying signals, particularly at a time when the Ministry of Justice and other parts of the public sector are embarking on major IT projects where outside contractors will be involved,” he says.

The PSA is telling affected members not to sign any waiver and has written to the Ministry of Justice asking it to withdraw the waiver and honour its collective agreement obligations. If there is no response it will be seeking urgent mediation on the issue.


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