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PSA concerned about impact of public job cuts

PSA Media Release
November 11, 2009
For Immediate Use

PSA concerned about impact of public job cuts

The Public Service Association is concerned about the impact of rising workloads on public service workers as the government cuts the number of staff at government departments.

The State Services Commission has today released the results of its annual workforce survey covering the public service which consists of 35 government departments.

The survey covers a 12 month period from July 1 last year to June 30 this year. In that period the number of public service staff rose by 2.5% to a total of 44,672.

The survey also shows that in the first half of this year, January 1 to June 30, there was a 1.4% drop in the number of public service staff.

The survey shows 24 government departments laid staff off during the 12 months to the end of June with 301 staff receiving redundancy payments. This is the highest level of redundancies in the public service since the June 2000 year.

“In a period where the number of people out of work rose to 138,000, or 6% of the workforce, the government was actively increasing the number of jobless New Zealanders,” says PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott.

“And more public service staff have been laid off since this survey was completed,” says Brenda Pilott.

For instance in September MAF Biosecurity laid off 21 workers including front-line quarantine inspection staff at ports and airports in Whangarei, Tauranga, Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Christchurch.

“These redundancies included quarantine inspection staff working on our border to prevent diseases and pests, that could devastate our economy, from entering the country,” says Brenda Pilott.

“We’re concerned the impact public service job cuts will have on public services - like preventing foot and mouth disease and fruit fly from entering the country and costing billions of dollars in lost exports.”

“Having fewer public service staff increases the workload of remaining staff which can undermine service delivery.”

“The survey shows public service workers are feeling the strain of rising workloads with the amount of sick leave they’ve taken reaching a seven-year high,” says Brenda Pilott.

Public service workers took an average of 7.5 days of sick and domestic leave in the year to the end of June, the highest level since the commission began collecting this data in 2003.

“Despite the strain of coping with a rising workload, public service workers have effectively had their pay frozen,” say Brenda Pilott.

“The latest Labour Cost Index figures show public service pay is basically flat lining while private sector pay continues to rise.”

Statistics NZ’s Labour Cost Index figures show for the year to end of September private sector pay rose 2% compared to 1.9% for the public service.

”It’s unfair that public service pay is falling behind the private sector when workloads in the public service are rising as staff numbers fall,” says Brenda Pilott.

“We’re also concerned they’ve been job cuts at two departments that are supposed to be excluded from the government’s public service jobs cap.”

The SSC shows there have been 80 jobs cut at Child Youth and Family and 44 at Prison Services.

“Why is the government cutting jobs in areas where it promised to increase staffing?” asks Brenda Pilott.


© Scoop Media

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