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MAF receives PSA strike notice

MAF receives PSA strike notice

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry yesterday received from the PSA notice of an intention to strike for 24 hours from 4:30am on Friday 2 December 2005. The strike notice appears to cover all PSA members who are employees of MAF. Such a strike would have the most impact on MAF border quarantine operations at airports and ports.

“We expect disruption at ports and airports and are currently evaluating options for managing reductions in service levels and potential delays,” MAF’s Quarantine Service general manager Ken Harris said.

“We apologise unreservedly for any disruption that this may cause the many customers of our border services. MAF does not want strike action and is exploring all options to avoid it.

“Meanwhile, we will be working with airports, airlines, ports, shipping companies and importers over the next few days to mitigate any impacts of a strike. We will provide further updates as soon as we can,” he said. (NB: The strike only affects MAF staff and so does not affect other border services such as Customs and Immigration)

“At airports we will be seeking to minimise delays to passenger clearances. Of particular concern is the clearance of perishable risk goods and we will work closely with importers on how this can best be managed. Some increase in biosecurity risk seems inevitable. More information will be provided to potentially affected organisations next week as we prepare contingency arrangements.

“MAF is very disappointed that the PSA has chosen to issue a strike notice – particularly given that the Employment Relations Authority is meeting today to rule on matters relevant to the negotiations.

“MAF’s offer to PSA members, plus other entitlements, proposes an average pay increase of about 5.8 percent for Quarantine Service staff and about 5.3 percent for all other MAF staff covered by the PSA collective agreement.” Ken Harris said.

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