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Justice staff striking for two hours this morning

PSA Media Release
November 6, 2009
Embargoed until 10am

Justice staff striking for two hours this morning

More than 1800 Justice Ministry staff who collect fines and work at courts and tribunals throughout the country are striking for two hours this morning as they continue industrial action against being paid less than other public service workers.

The two-hour strike starts at 10am and involves more than 1800 Justice Ministry staff who belong to the Public Service Association. They’ll be walking off the job and attending a series of meetings throughout the country organised by the union.

“This is the fourth time these Justice workers have gone on strike since beginning a campaign of industrial action three and half weeks ago,” says PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“They’ve been taking action because they’re fed up with being paid less than other public service workers and fed up with an unjust pay system that’s caused that underpayment.”

The Ministry’s own figures show that on average Justice workers are paid 6.3% below the pay median for the public service. The under payment is even worse for many Justice staff. The Ministry’s 1200 court registry officers are paid 9.25% below the public service median for the work they do.

Most court registry officers are paid between $39,600 and $46,600 a year. Their highest pay rate is $53,600. Most court registry support officers are paid between $29,500 and $35,000.Their highest pay rate is $40,000.

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“As well as striking the Justice workers have been continuing to ‘work to rule’ which has involved taking their work breaks together and a ban on working unpaid hours,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“The Justice workers’ action has shutdown court sittings throughout the country and disrupted other Justice services.”

“The action has shown these workers are determined to have a fair pay system and determined to bridge their pay gap with the rest of the public service.”

“That’s why during today’s strike they’re attending meetings nationwide to discuss a campaign of on-going industrial action to achieve a fair outcome to this dispute.”

“All they want is for the Ministry to engage in meaningful negotiations to develop a just pay system and to close their pay gap with other public service workers in a fair way the Ministry can afford.”

“We’re prepared to look at closing the pay gap in stages to make it affordable for the Ministry.”

“We’ve invited the Ministry to work with us to reduce their costs by finding ways of working more efficiently, identifying and eliminating wasteful spending and improving productivity.”

“This would offset the cost of closing the pay gap and implementing a fair and transparent pay structure.”

“The Ministry claims closing the pay gap and establishing a just structure will cost $100 million over three years We reject that figure. It’s an inflated figure the Ministry has used to exaggerate the size of its pay problems, to avoid addressing those problems.”

“The Ministry claims it has made a realistic offer that the PSA declined to take to its members. The offer was inadequate and these workers have rejected it by taking industrial action.”

“The Ministry says it’s committed to resolving this dispute. So is the PSA and the Justice workers taking industrial action.”

“We continue to urge the Ministry to sit down and begin working with us on fair, sustainable and affordable solutions to its pay problems,” says Richard Wagstaff.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

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