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PSA tells Justice Ministry negotiations not over

December 7, 2009
For Immediate Use
PSA tells Ministry of Justice negotiations not over

The Public Service Association has written to the Ministry of Justice to tell them that negotiations for a fair pay settlement are not over.

The union’s letter is in response to a letter it received from the Ministry of Justice headed “collective bargaining is at an end.”

“We’ve told the Ministry that it can’t unilaterally call off the negotiations,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“The bargaining process agreements we have with the Ministry state that both parties have to agree before negotiations are formally ended.”

“This is a further example of the Ministry burying its head in the sand and refusing to acknowledge and deal with very significant problems in the workplace.”

“The PSA is committed to resolving these issues and expects the Ministry to show the same resolve”.

“The Ministry needs to acknowledge that it’s paying its staff 6.3% less than the rest of the public service because it has an unjust pay setting system.”

“Underpaying staff for running something as essential as running our justice system is totally unacceptable.”

“The pay for court registry support officers starts at just $29,500. That’s not much more than the adult minimum wage of $26,000 for helping run our country’s courts.”

“Justice is being delayed because of a backlog of cases in our courts and the Ministry needs to be working with its staff on addressing this problem.”

“Instead it’s adding to the problem by refusing to listen to its staff’s concerns, forcing them to take industrial action to try and get the Ministry back to the negotiating table.”

“This action has been closing courts, shutting down courtrooms, disrupting trials, hearings, the collection of fines and other services at the Ministry of Justice.”

“The Ministry needs to realise the industrial action will continue until it engages in constructive negotiations to reach a just pay settlement.”

“The Ministry needs to recognise that the PSA-led negotiating team has tabled a constructive offer that would cost only about $10 million.

“The Ministry needs to recognise that the gap between the two parties to be negotiated is only about $5 million and that we’re offering to help bridge that gap.”

“Our offer involves the staff and PSA working with the Ministry to reduce their costs by finding ways of working more efficiently, identifying and eliminating wasteful spending and improving productivity.”

“This collaborative style of management is needed to address the backlog of cases in our courts.’’

“The Ministry has a simple choice. Continue burying its head in the sand and refuse to fix its staff’s pay problems and the problems of an over burdened justice system.”
“Or show some leadership and begin addressing those problems by constructively negotiating a fair pay system,” says Richard Wagstaff.


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