25 September 2023

Unions back plans for PS

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New Zealand’s main union representing the public sector has welcomed the Government’s paper on Expectations on Employment Relations in the State Sector.

The paper sets out general policies for employment and workplace relations, negotiation of individual and collective employment agreements, and Agency policies on pay and conditions.

National Secretaries of the Public Service Association (PSA), Erin Polaczuk and Glenn Barclay issued a joint statement saying the paper set out clear guidelines around collective bargaining, pay and conditions.

“The PSA is pleased this Government has made such a firm commitment to move to improved consistency in pay and conditions across Agencies,” Ms Polaczuk and Mr Barclay said.

“We are particularly encouraged by the policy driver for state sector employers to address any pay equity claims through the process established by the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles and to work to close gender pay gaps.”

The statement said the paper was a step toward fixing some of the barriers to better and more joined up public services and was “a clear statement of intent about valuing Public Service workers”.

“Our civilian members in the New Zealand Defence Force went to the Employment Relations Authority last year and won the right to bargain collectively on pay — the new Expectations make this a requirement for the whole Public Service,” the Secretaries said.

“While we are disappointed there is no clear statement about the Living Wage, our members will take this up in bargaining.”

They said the instruction to Public Service Departments to narrow the gap between the highest and lowest earners was a clear signal to Agencies to come to the table prepared to deliver on this.

The union officials said PS employees had had nine years of very low pay increases, and the paper would give scope to negotiate a fairer reward for their work.

Wellington, 4 April 2018

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