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Parliamentary report acknowledges staff underpaid

PSA Press Release

Attention: State sector reporters October 17, 2002

Parliamentary report acknowledges staff underpaid

The PSA was pleased to note that many of the recommendations contained in its submission to the Review Committee on Parliamentary Appropriations had been well-received, PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.

“The Committee’s report of October 14 acknowledges many of the issues included in our submission such as: that parliamentary staff salaries have been held at the same levels for a number of years; that parliamentary jobs have become much more demanding in terms of both workloads and complexity; that the skill requirements have risen considerably, and that a case can be made for change. The Committee have also acknowledged that current salaries for parliamentary staff are well below the market.”

Richard Wagstaff said MMP has brought many changes to the roles of members of Parliament and their expectations of their staff. These changes have not, however, been reflected in the employment terms and conditions of MPs’ support staff.

“Despite carrying out complex and unique responsibilities, executive secretaries working for members of Parliament, for example, have not received a salary increase since 1995, although MPs’ salaries in that time have risen 24 percent. Furthermore, the present funding for support staff positions is based on job descriptions which are outdated and, in some cases, virtually obsolete.”

Richard Wagstaff said the PSA was concerned to note in the report that the Committee was recommending a trial of bulk funding for parliamentary parties.

“The Committee points out in its report the many difficulties of bulk funding and its implementation, particularly involving employment responsibilities, but then makes a recommendation that a bulk funding trial be investigated for possible commencement in the 2003/2004 financial year. It is the PSA’s belief that bulk funding of parliamentary parties would be disadvantageous to our parliamentary members and could undermine the democratic political process.”


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