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Zero marks for Ministry of Education’s job cut strategy


Oct 7th, 2011

Zero marks for Ministry of Education’s job cut strategy

The slashing of over 40 regional Ministry of Education jobs is nothing more than a cost-cutting exercise which will fail to bring about any service improvements for the public, says the PSA.

Earlier today, the Ministry told staff it was cutting over 40 administrative jobs from its Northern, Central North, Central South and Southern offices.

Those who will lose their jobs are mostly women who earn between $30-43,000 and perform an array of tasks ranging from secretarial and technical support, records and database management, budgeting and payments

Their support enables other Ministry staff like property advisors, field workers for Special Education who perform language, psychology and occupational therapy, as well as Education, Curriculum and Performance staff, to focus their efforts within schools and not on administrative work.

The majority of these workers will receive no redundancy payments as they have been employed on fixed term agreements for a number of years.

“If the Ministry’s decision-makers believe that slashing jobs and staff will turn it into a better service provider they need to go back to school,” says PSA Acting National Secretary Jeff Osborne.

“How do you improve a service by cutting the people that help deliver it? Less people doing a job often means the job doesn’t get done.

“Our members at the Ministry of Education are already working to full capacity. These cuts will stretch regional teams even more. That’s not sustainable and services and staff will be impacted.

This is another example of the National-led Government squeezing a public service department to the point where it struggles to deliver to its sector.

“If the Government actually stood by its own policy – that every child and student will be learning and achieving every day – then it wouldn’t be bleeding resources from the very Department that’s charged with delivering that goal.

“Our members believe that the only positive outcome for the Ministry from these cuts will be an initial reduction in costs that will later be lost when it becomes apparent that new staff need to be employed and trained at a greater cost to get jobs done.

“The best way to gain efficiencies in any business or organisation is to consult with, and involve those who do the work. They are best placed to come up with sustainable solutions that bring productivity gains.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen regional jobs go from DOC and IRD. MAF and Housing New Zealand are also proposing to cut hundreds of jobs.

“In the past three years nearly 2,400 jobs have gone from the public service. If you add in unfilled vacancies – often a cover for job cuts – it amounts to a staggering 5500. You can’t remove over 5000 positions without public services being impacted,” says Jeff Osborne.

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