Latest News Latest News from the PSA Shane Jones' new job raises Ministerial interference questions The Public Service Association says the announcement that Labour MP Shane Jones is to move to a new ‘ambassador-level’ role created by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully raises questions about the politicisation of the public service.<br /> <br /> Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary, said “The neutrality of our public service is harmed by appointments made, and jobs created, for political reasons.”<br /> <br /> “Was MFAT Chief Executive John Allen involved in the development of this role, or was it created on the whim of the Minister?<br /> <br /> “Ministerial involvement in operational matters harms the core principles of our public service.<br /> <br /> “MFAT staff have a right to feel aggrieved when politicians are appointed over the top of them into ambassadorial roles.<br /> <br /> “Hard working MFAT staff deserve career progression, not being left behind while Ministers play politics,” said Brenda Pilott.<br /> _ashergoldman d85cfbba-30b5-48ad-b558-076d75eae2d9 Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:28:50 GMT Evidence lacking for Northland council amalgamation The Public Service Association has told a Local Government Commission hearing in Kaikohe that there is a lack of evidence supporting a proposed amalgamation of Northland councils.<br /> <br /> Glenn Barclay, PSA Acting National Secretary, said “We are not opposed to amalgamations on principle, but in Northland’s case we do not believe sufficient evidence exists.”<br /> <br /> “PSA members working in the Northland’s local government are uniquely placed to assess the needs of the diverse communities.<br /> <br /> “Our members across the Northland councils overwhelmingly opposed amalgamation when surveyed.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> “PSA members are concerned that the needs of Northland communities will be harder to meet in a more centralised system.<br /> <br /> “The PSA has urged the Commission not to proceed with amalgamation,” said Glenn Barclay. _ashergoldman 51a4bdc2-b265-412b-a72e-b5d33cf2990f Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:35:05 GMT Government's ‘rock star economy’ throws hospital staff out the window The Public Service Association says administrative staff at hospitals around the country are missing out on Bill English’s ‘rock star economy’, with the Government instructing pay rises be limited to just 0.7%.<br /> <br /> Warwick Jones, PSA Assistant Secretary, said “April 16th is Administrative Professionals’ Day, but there isn’t much to celebrate for the overworked and underpaid staff who keep our public health system running.”<br /> <br /> “Since 2009 admin staff numbers have been capped, unable to grow alongside population, services and demand.<br /> <br /> “Hospital admin staff are facing continually increasing workloads, but their pay is not rising to match.<br /> <br /> “The Government must lift the cap on staffing numbers and fund District Health Boards for a fair wage rise for admin workers,” said Warwick Jones.‘rock_star_economy’_throws_hospital_staff_out_the_window.aspx _ashergoldman ef58b65f-c195-4b56-9119-e4a3103b217f Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:19:08 GMT Wellington City Council to cut IT jobs in yet another restructuring The Public Service Association says a new proposal to restructure the Wellington City Council’s IT team now, while also proposing another restructure in just 18 months’ time, is astounding.<br /> <br /> Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary, said “Wellington City Council has set a goal of reducing staff turnover rates, yet they are dumping 16 hardworking IT staff.”<br /> <br /> “The Council is proposing to cut 33 positions in a unit that has been restructured every 18 months since 2004.<br /> <br /> “Wellington City is trying to be a hub for IT and online business, but its Council is cutting their own capacity in this important area.<br /> <br /> “Staff have been told to expect another restructure in 18 months, which begs the question of why the Council can’t work with staff and their union to find a lasting solution.<br /> <br /> “The first step towards reducing turnover is building a positive, secure workplace culture, which can’t happen alongside seemingly endless restructuring,” said Brenda Pilott.<br /> _ashergoldman e97e8d28-ef43-4f47-820e-dcc146e2cdef Wed, 02 Apr 2014 15:50:37 GMT Minimum wage rise not enough for working families The Public Service Association says the 50 cent rise in the minimum wage which comes into effect today is too little for struggling New Zealanders.<br /> <br /> Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary, said “a 50 cent increase is little relief for thousands of working families struggling to get by.”<br /> <br /> “The Government had the opportunity to help workers struggling with the cost of living, but instead chose only a miserly increase.<br /> <br /> “Employers paying the minimum wage are effectively subsidised by the taxpayer in the form of benefits, supplements and tax credits.<br /> <br /> “Many workers on the minimum wage are in Government funded sectors, but they are not seeing an increase in funding to match Bill English’s rhetoric.<br /> <br /> “It looks like the Government’s ‘rock star economy’ is just putting out a load of noise without any substance for low-paid workers,” said Richard Wagstaff. _ashergoldman b65cbf7e-38b1-4a31-bc3c-259ed171a748 Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:01:53 GMT Govt to negotiate settlement for care workers travel time The Public Service Association is welcoming the Government’s decision to begin negotiations for a sector-wide settlement over travel time for home care workers.<br /> <br /> Currently, thousands of home care workers are only paid for the time they are in client’s homes, and not for the time spent travelling between them.<br /> <br /> Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary, says “the PSA looks forward to sitting around the table with the Ministry of Health, DHBs, and contracted providers to find a solution that works for everyone.”<br /> <br /> “The PSA filed a case on this matter with the Employment Relations Authority for one of our members, but a negotiated sector wide settlement is preferable to a lengthy legal process.<br /> <br /> “Some of our members in the home care sector have to drive 600km per week between jobs, but at the moment they are not paid for this time.<br /> <br /> “Workers being paid close to the minimum wage have been effectively subsidising their employers in this issue which has dogged the sector for decades.<br /> <br /> “The PSA, alongside the CTU and SFWU, will negotiate on behalf of the thousands of workers we represent to find a solution.<br /> <br /> “Our members in home care do valuable work looking after some of our most vulnerable members of society, and they should be treated fairly,” said Richard Wagstaff. _ashergoldman e62f035e-a649-4989-8ee4-5ea1f8dafc7a Mon, 31 Mar 2014 14:59:41 GMT New Bill will protect victims of domestic violence & reduce costs to employers The Public Service Association is supporting the Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill, a new Member’s Bill launched today by Jan Logie, Green MP.<br /> <br /> The PSA is also launching research by economist Suzanne Snively ONZM, which shows that domestic violence costs businesses $368 million per year.<br /> <br /> “Domestic violence has a significant impact on people’s ability to participate in the workforce, but this impact is often hidden,” said Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary.<br /> <br /> “Suzanne Snively’s research, shows that significant savings could be made by employers if victims of domestic violence are properly supported in the workplace.<br /> <br /> “The PSA has been working with employers to get agreed provisions that provide support at work for people suffering from domestic violence. Employer by employer agreements will not provide for everyone, however, and that is why legislation is needed.<br /> <br /> “Ms Logie’s Member’s Bill will help provide the safety and flexibility needed to give victims the best chance of leaving violent situations and moving forward with their lives,” said Brenda Pilott. <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>FOR MORE INFORMATION</p> <p ><em>Productivity Gains from Workplace Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence</em> by Suzanne Snively ONZM<br /> <a href=""></a><br /> <br /> Jan Logie’s <em>Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill</em><br /> <a href=""> </a></p> _ashergoldman fd894beb-3262-4ba0-9d5f-bb8860b575ce Mon, 31 Mar 2014 12:30:00 GMT Problem Gambling Foundation funding must be reinstated The Public Service Association says the Ministry of Health must reinstate funding for the Problem Gambling Foundation. This follows the announcement that the Foundation’s funding would cease on June 30 this year.<br /> <br /> The PSA, New Zealand’s largest union, represents Foundation staff across New Zealand.<br /> <br /> “Cutting funding to the Problem Gambling Foundation is abandoning the families ravaged by the effects of problem gambling,” said Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary.<br /> <br /> “There is no logic to cutting the funding for an organisation that does world-leading work in harm prevention.<br /> <br /> “As casinos grow and pokie numbers increase, the impacts of problem gambling will not diminish, so to cut funding to the largest organisation in Australasia working on these issues makes no sense.<br /> <br /> “About 25,000 people have received counselling from the Foundation over 20 years, significantly reducing the damage caused by problem gambling, and costs to the health and justice sectors.<br /> <br /> “The Ministry must reinstate the Foundation’s funding to ensure it can continue its vital work helping New Zealand families for years to come,” said Brenda Pilott. _ashergoldman 2c24ab30-8731-4e1c-9f9e-99d8bd8a1112 Fri, 21 Mar 2014 10:32:13 GMT Botched Corrections restructure leaving staff in lurch The Public Service Association says the Department of Corrections’ head office restructure is being botched, leaving staff grasping for answers. <br /> <br /> “This has been botched from the start,” said Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary.<br /> <br /> “The answers from the Department's official Q&amp;A email address are often lacking in necessary detail, leaving staff concerned about their future still searching for clarity.<br /> <br /> “At the same time as proposing redundancies, the Department continues to advertise head office jobs that could be filled by the people it proposes to cut.<br /> <br /> “By advertising jobs externally, the Department is ignoring its obligations to redeploy affected staff into vacant roles.<br /> <br /> “We have written to the Department seeking an extension of the consultation time frame; a freeze on new hires; and more detailed information, so that staff can have a genuine say on the proposal,” said Brenda Pilott. _ashergoldman 916393c4-8dd6-4962-bc3e-22a706738eb1 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 16:26:05 GMT Govt underfunding leaves Auckland DHB in $12 million hole The Public Service Association says chronic underfunding of DHBs by the Government is to blame for the $12 million hole Auckland DHB is in. <br /> <br /> “The Government is skimping on DHB budgets, while staff and patients pay the price,” said Warwick Jones, PSA Assistant Secretary.<br /> <br /> “The PSA wants ADHB to talk to us and discuss constructive solutions, rather than leaving worried staff in the dark.<br /> <br /> “Staff may be anxious about the future following these reports, so an open culture of engagement with their unions is needed to allay their concerns.<br /> <br /> “Suggestions that staff vacancies may remain unfilled to save money is bad news for staff and patients.<br /> <br /> "Auckland DHB services a rapidly growing population, and provides specialist services for other DHBs, and it requires adequate staffing levels to serve these needs.<br /> <br /> “Chronic underfunding of DHBs is the root cause of the issue, so Government needs to step up for New Zealanders' health and wellbeing,” said Warwick Jones. _ashergoldman 81e20cfd-f215-4ec2-998b-9e265b21d1e0 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 11:47:08 GMT Employment law changes will widen inequality <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The Public Service Association says the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, set to pass its second reading in Parliament this evening, will further widen <span style="font-size: 12pt;">income</span> inequality in New Zealand. </span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">“This Bill harms workers' ability to bargain together for better wages and conditions</span>,”<span style="font-size: 12pt;"> said Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">“Changing the rules to allow employers to walk away from collective bargaining only strengthens the hand of employers at the negotiation table.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">"We know that strong collective bargaining results in higher wages and better conditions, but these changes to employment law will make achieving that even harder.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">“Making collective bargaining harder will drive most worker's wages down, while those at the top continue to increase.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">"Almost 8000 of our members submitted to the Select Committee hearing this bill, and hundreds asked to be heard in person.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">“The PSA and our members are clear – if this Bill becomes law, New Zealand workers will be worse off,” said Richard Wagstaff.</span></p> _ashergoldman 6342cdb0-1e06-4623-b150-f324b327f078 Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:03:47 GMT Corrections announce yet more job cuts The Department of Corrections' plans to cut 60 jobs in Wellington will place further workload pressure on regional offices, said the Public Service Association.<br /> <br /> "The functions currently performed by the staff proposed to be cut will be added to the already busy workloads of regional staff,” said Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary.<br /> <br /> “These cuts come only 18 months after the last round, and staff are sick of the instability and change fatigue caused by senior management.<br /> <br /> “About 140 positions were impacted last time, taking the potential total to 200 Corrections staff affected by changes, including approximately 100 jobs potentially lost.<br /> <br /> "While none of the current proposed redundancies are in offender-facing roles, the staff perform important roles to serve the needs of the Department which would be sorely missed.<br /> <br /> “The Department has begun a very short two week consultation period, and we urge them to prioritise the retention of important skills and experience,” said Richard Wagstaff. _ashergoldman 95a5eec9-9764-4b6f-ad3c-467fd0e11f40 Thu, 13 Mar 2014 15:39:13 GMT Productivity Commission report a wake-up call Public service chief executives need to get serious about learning the lessons from their own successes and failures, said the Public Service Association.<br /> <br /> This need has been shown in the report into regulatory institutions and practices, released today by the New Zealand Productivity Commission.<br /> <br /> “The public sector should be seeking to continuously improve practices, but we know the opportunities for this are often missed,” said Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary.<br /> <br /> "The Productivity Commissions' report notes that 83% of central government regulatory workers said in a survey that they did not agree that their organisation was good at learning from mistakes and successes.<br /> <br /> "Our members have been continually frustrated when, rather than listen to the experts with direct experience of the jobs, state sector organisations bring in external consultants review processes.<br /> <br /> "If New Zealand's public service is to keep delivering, it needs to ensure it is listening to the messages front-line staff are learning.<br /> <br /> “Staff training and development is often left behind, but it must be a feature of all planning for the future to ensure continual improvement,” said Richard Wagstaff. _ashergoldman 1369e2e8-0fec-4511-984a-1da348f955a1 Thu, 13 Mar 2014 15:03:11 GMT The end of history? Te Ara job losses a disappointing sign News that the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is to significantly reduce the number of staff working on Te Ara, the online New Zealand encyclopaedia, is disappointing for all those interested in our country’s history, said the Public Service Association, the union representing Te Ara staff.<br /> <br /> “Te Ara has developed into a fantastic resource for New Zealanders and others interested in our country’s heritage, and is one of the best publicly available places to find out about our Maori history,” said Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary.<br /> <br /> “History does not finish, but rather is constantly being made, and Te Ara will be hard placed to keep up to date with a reduction in staff.<br /> <br /> “Some Te Ara staff have worked for the Ministry and its predecessors for over 25 years, but it seems the loyalty they have shown and the hard work they have put in will no longer be reciprocated.<br /> <br /> “Over 5 million people have visited Te Ara in the last 12 months, showing the immense value it holds.<br /> <br /> “There is still time for the Ministry to reassess its decision before the current staff contracts end, and we urge it to do so to ensure the specialist skills and knowledge are not lost to the detriment of us all.<br /> <br /> “Treating Te Ara as ‘just another website’ to be maintained would mean missing an opportunity to further build on and enhance this award winning taonga,” said Brenda Pilott. _ashergoldman 411116e1-44d8-49c6-bdf8-8643848c4419 Thu, 06 Mar 2014 11:45:06 GMT SSC election guidance important, regardless of the delivery Today’s release by the State Services Commission of their guidance for state servants on the election period is a welcome contribution that will assist our public servants to contribute to their democracy, the Public Service Assocation.<br> </br> <br> </br> The guidance has come in the form of a website, printed materials and a video, produced in-house by Commission staff.<br> </br> <br> </br> “I'm no film critic, but I’m glad that the SSC is helping to inform public servants of their rights to participate in our democracy,” said Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary.<br> </br> <br> </br> “Whatever the merits of the acting skills on display, this video has definitely helped to get people talking about these important issues.<br> </br> <br> </br> “While the public service must be politically neutral, this does not mean those workers cannot be politically active in their own time, and the guidelines released will be of great help to public servants seeking to navigate these boundaries.<br> </br> <br> </br> "We are also glad to see that the SSC has explicitly stated that union activity in the workplace falls within the guidelines, as this has been an area where there has been some push back in the past from some Government departments.<br> </br> <br> </br> “Public servants contribute to our society in their jobs, and it is important that they know they can safely contribute in their personal lives as well,” said Brenda Pilott. _ashergoldman 44ee1b4e-33ba-4c63-9ec4-e813ab652b4d Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:05:00 GMT