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Regional restructuring bad timing for Work and Income staff

Regional restructuring bad timing for Work and Income staff

The PSA, New Zealand’s largest trade union, is surprised and alarmed at the government’s announcement of more restructurings at Work and Income regional offices.

The announcement of a review of regional offices resulting in 35 fewer roles across 11 regional offices comes at the same time as sweeping welfare reforms that sees existing benefits replaced with the introduction of three new benefits: jobseeker support, sole parent support and supported living payments.

“It seems like bad practice and very bad timing.  Work and Income staff are already bracing themselves for the extra 80,000 clients that they will have to support as part of the reforms, so more change and uncertainty is a kick in the teeth for staff who have worked hard to implement the government’s directives,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

The review of regional offices is set to run until the end of 2013, which leaves a long period of uncertainly for workers.  There are also questions around how the department has already concluded that there will be 35 fewer jobs before the completion of the review.

“Staff at Work and Income need security and continuity in the workplace to enable them to deliver the increase in services.”

The PSA is also deeply concerned with the lack of transparency around the restructure plans.

“We know that change is a feature of modern organisations and the public sector has to be responsive to government direction, client needs and other environmental factors. We champion an open and honest change management process that includes worker voice and we can’t say that this has been the experience here.” 

The PSA, like staff at Work and Income offices across the country, awaits further details on the exact nature of the restructuring and what this means for staffing levels, services and the communities that rely on Work and Income.

ENDS

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