Agreement reached at CYF
Over 2000 PSA Child, Youth and Family members have ratified their Terms of Settlement with the Ministry of Social Development after relatively quick negotiations concluded in late January.
The Terms of Settlement included two parts: first, minor changes to the Collective Agreement that include a 2% pay increase from December 2016 and a further 2% a year later.
The second part importantly includes a medium- and long-term plan towards addressing workload issues, which has been an ongoing struggle for our members.
This plan acknowledges the need to begin addressing these issues prior to the formal establishment of Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Vulnerable Children), which comes into effect from April 2017. This enables our members to have a strong voice in the process of identifying the key issues affecting workload, and commits to the PSA contributing to the new Ministry’s work plan.
These Terms of Settlement were received before Christmas last year and ratification meetings began in mid-January, concluding by the end of the month with 88% of members in favour.
Work and Income settlement ratified
Bargaining has also concluded for our members at Work and Income, who have secured salary rises of 2% and 2% from October 2016 and 2017 in their new Collective Agreement, which came into effect late last year.
The Agreement also includes a commitment to the Ministry upholding and reaffirming the importance of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in its day-to-day practice, updates to reassignment and voluntary severance clauses in the Change Management process, and increased clarity around management of hazards and risks in the workplace.
Part 2 of the Terms of Settlement contains an important agreement to consult with the PSA during the Ministry’s development of a work programme for the next eighteen months, with key elements of the programme centred on job descriptions and expectations, new pay bands and appropriate job sizing, and guidelines for additional Ministry investment.
The Terms also provided clarification around the granting of domestic leave for victims of domestic violence, and established a lump sum payment for PSA members. They were ratified in mid-November of last year.
Maritime Union Lyttleton - strike
In recent months, workers at Lyttleton Port Company and members of the Lyttleton Maritime Union have been going on strike after negotiations on their new collective employment agreement floundered.
The previous contract expired in March 2016 and negotiations on the new contract did not start until June 2016.
Strikes started in December, taking place over a series of weekends. Gary Horan, Union representative, says: “Workers had been waiting a long time to get some results and their patience was really stretched. Strike action had to be taken.”
Gary says, “During the strikes, people have been really supportive of each other and have stuck together. We had a weekly barbeque for everyone who was picketing and received support from the Lyttleton community, with local businesses chipping in free food and coffee for us, which we have been really grateful for."
“The company used new health and safety legislation to challenge our right to picket, with concerns for the health and safety of other port users as a basis for its attack on peaceful picketing. This has major ramifications for all unions."
“In the last few weeks though, things have progressed a lot, with terms of settlement finally being hammered out and ready for ratification by members on 1 March, if they accept the terms,” he says.
Should the settlement terms be agreed and ratified, key benefits for workers will be a protected 7.00 am finish time and the protection of eight-hour shifts.
First Union hits the brakes
Auckland’s housing and living costs are the highest in the country. Yet for many Aucklanders, pay rates have not kept up.
At Brake and Transmission, workers start on just over minimum wage. There are people who have been with Brake and Transmission for many years, but are still earning barely over minimum wage.
According to First Union organiser for Transport and Logistics, Emir Hodzic: “Workers are struggling to keep up with living expenses even though they are working full time. A conversation about wages needed to happen.”
First Union initiated bargaining with Brake and Transmission in August 2016 and met with the company to negotiate in November. However, the first meeting adjourned with no discussion of wages having taken place. A second meeting was set for continued bargaining. Unfortunately, Brake and Transmission postponed the meeting.
Workers’ patience was stretched and so they initiated a first strike, which took place on 14 December and lasted two days. This was quickly followed by a second strike on 26 January, when the company postponed a second meeting.
First Union and the company finally met again on 10 February for another bargaining meeting, six months after bargaining was initiated. Sadly, the company was again unwilling to discuss wages. Workers were disappointed and decided to walk out that day, and are still on strike.
Emir Hodzic says he hopes the company will come to the table to resolve this dispute at an upcoming mediation meeting with the company.
Bargaining in brief
- After a long and challenging process, members at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have just ratified a new Collective Agreement. The process included an unprecedented vote by members to take industrial action, and urgent mediation was held just prior to Christmas. A settlement was reached that averted industrial action.
- Members at Housing New Zealand (HNZ) have achieved a number of positive outcomes in negotiating and ratifying a new Collective Agreement. HNZ will review positions in range for all PSA members with five or more years’ service, and will work alongside the PSA to review its performance in partnership approach and remuneration framework. The agreed work programme will also investigate gender pay inequities.