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Parliamentary staff vote to take industrial action

PSA Media Release
September 30, 2009
For Immediate Use

Parliamentary staff vote to take industrial action

Staff at Parliament have voted to take industrial action in protest at their employer freezing their pay and seeking to cut redundancy payments.

The dispute involves more than 120 Parliamentary staff and includes security officers, Parliamentary Library staff, reception workers and messengers. They belong to the Public Service Association and began negotiations for a new collective employment agreement seven months ago in February.

The industrial action is due to begin tomorrow, Thursday October 1.

At 11pm on Thursday October 1 Parliament security officers working the night shift will attend a one-hour stopwork meeting.

At 3pm on Monday October 5 all Parliament staff involved in the dispute will attend a second hour-long stopwork meeting.

“These workers are essential to the daily operation of Parliament,” says PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“They’ve voted to take industrial action because their employer, Parliamentary Service, has frozen their pay and is denying them the right to collectively negotiate their pay.”

“They’re also opposing a push by their employer to make it easier and cheaper to lay staff off by reducing their redundancy protection and the level of redundancy payments,” says Richard Wagstaff.

Parliamentary Service wants to have no redundancy payment for any new staff it hires, during their first year in the job, and to reduce the maximum level of redundancy for new staff.

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“These Parliamentary workers are taking industrial action after beginning their negotiations seven months ago,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“They’ve been to mediation and are still trying to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement.”

“They’ve voted to escalate their industrial action if their employer continues to freeze their pay, deny them the right to collectively negotiate a fair pay increase and reduce their redundancy protection and the level of redundancy payments,” says Richard Wagstaff.

Work done by the Parliamentary Service staff taking action includes:

Security officers protect MPs and all other staff working in Parliament, the Beehive, the Parliamentary Library and Bowen House. They work every day of the year providing a 24 hour service. They screen every visitor entering these buildings, x raying their bags and requiring them to pass through a metal detector. They also screen everything that is delivered to these buildings and supervise the people who clean them during the night.

Library staff provide a research service for the 122 MPs in Parliament and their staff. They are required to be available whenever Parliament is sitting which is until 10pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and later if the House goes into urgency.

ENDS

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