MOJ Industrial Action Info

All the information you need about industrial action.

Awesome nation-wide action on the 19th September

Over 1500 members went out for the two hour strike on the 19th.  There have been heaps of photos shared and the media coverage was really good.  Great first steps in getting our message out to the public that we want to be properly valued for the work that we do.  See below in the Media tab for some of the coverage from across the country.


Work to rule now in place

The work-to-rules and partial industrial action are now in place from 1600 on the 19th September through to 1600 on 19th October.  These are:

  • A ban on overtime
  • No working outside your contracted hours of work
  • Taking common breaks at 1015-1025, 1230-1330 and 1500-1510
  • No attendance of the One Source Weekly meetings

If you have any queries about these actions have a look at the quick guide; at FAQ below or talk to your delegate or Organiser.  You can also email


19th September action

Otago Daily Times  


RNZ Checkpoint with video

Law society

NZ Herald
Ministry of Justice workers strike, walk out of New Zealand’s courthouses

Bay of Plenty Times

Court staff call out ministry ‘injustice’ over planned changes to pay brackets

Court staff stop work over womens pay
5:00AM, 20 September 2018

Kaitaia District Court staff were among more than 70 Ministry of Justice employees in Northland who stopped work for two hours yesterday over stalled pay negotiations for female employees.

"Our members at Justice work hard to keep the court system going. Many of them are women, and they do crucial jobs," PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk said.

"They deserve to be properly valued for the work they do in making sure the justice system runs smoothly and fairly."

A female employee was paid, on average, 15 per cent less than a male, a larger gender pay gap than the average public sector department of 12 per cent.

"The PSA believes the ministry does not properly value some female-dominated roles, and our efforts to strike a deal to reduce this pay gap and have staff properly valued have so far come to nothing," Ms Polaczuk said. "Last year Justice had the third-lowest average salary in the public sector, and we believe they are slipping back even further." Ministry of Justice chief executive Andrew Bridgman said staff had been offered a five per cent increase over two years, consistent with agreements for other government agencies.

The PSA had asked for more than 13 per cent over the same period.

Meanwhile Kaitaia staff have moved into temporary office space, taking over most of what had been the reception foyer, while the administration area is refurbished.


We've put together a list of frequently asked questions that set out what will happen and what your rights are.

Why are we going on strike?

Ministry of Justice staff work hard to keep the court system working.  The PSA has been trying to negotiate a deal to get members fairly valued for the work that they do and that reduces the gender pay gap.  What the Ministry is offering just isn't enough and doesn't take these concerns seriously.  Strike action is always a last resort and it is a difficult step to take, but if we stand together we can get ALL our members fairly valued for the work they do.

Who can go on strike?

All PSA members who are covered by the bargaining can take part in the industrial actions and it is lawful for them to do so. If you are unsure, contact your delegate.

Encourage each other

If members work during industrial action, this would undermine the strike and the efforts of those who do take part. Encourage your fellow members to take part.


Work to rule questions

Can the employer deduct my wages for a partial strike?

Your employer is able to make partial deductions from pay where PSA members take some partial strike action. This can be either by way of a fixed deduction of 10% of the employee’s wages, or a proportionate pay deduction for time lost, calculated using the formula in the Act. Your employer cannot make a pay deduction for a refusal to work overtime. An employer is required to give employees or the PSA a notice prior to making the pay deduction.

What if my usual breaks don't fit in with the common breaks in the work to rule? 

Maximum impact is achieved when as many members as possible take their breaks at the same time.  Your manager cannot require you to take breaks at other times unless you agree to do so. The only lawful strike break times are those that have been voted upon by the members - 1015-25, 1230-1330 and 1500-1510.  Any partial strike action involving other break times is not legal.  Please consider moving your breaks to the new times to maximise the impact.

Can my manager change my work hours or flexible work arrangements if I am working to rule?

No.  Your manager is not allowed to unilaterally change your hours of work.  They are also not allowed to change your hours to try and discourage you from taking lawful industrial action.  If this happens, immediately contact your Organiser.

What happens if I am in court when the breaks occur or after my normal hours?

Quietly get up and leave for the duration of the break or at the end of your normal hours.  The judiciary have been informed of the action and understand why we are taking this stand.  It is up to your manager to arrange cover by non-members to cover the breaks and if the court runs late.

Can I be disciplined?

No. Your participation in the strike action is lawful and your employer cannot discipline you or discriminate against you in any way for taking part. Your right to strike without discrimination is protected by law.

Your rights during any strike:

Who is expected to go on strike?

Everyone (including team leaders) who is covered by the collective bargaining are expected to abide by the democratic decision of members and to take part in the strike actions.

If you do not take part, you will minimise the impact of the strikes. This is not in the spirit of the collective action. This includes using flexi time or leave to avoid taking part, or taking your lunch break over the industrial action period.

We urge you to come along to events in your area during the strike. You do not have to attend events but the more people involved in the union rallies, the more impact your action will have.

Will I lose pay?

If you are expected to work during the strike and you do not work, your employer may choose to deduct pay from your salary. Because the strike action you will be taking is a total withdrawal of labour, your pay can only be deducted for the amount of time you are on strike.

If you are on approved annual leave, or you work part-time and the strike is at a time when you would not work, you should not have your pay deducted.

Can I take leave or use flexi-time for strike action?

Taking a holiday or using flexible working to avoid strike action diminishes its effectiveness. Visible protest action ensures that an effective message will be sent to your employer.

Do I need to tell my manager I am taking action?

No, there is no obligation to inform your manager you intend to take strike action. There is no need for you to sign anything either.  The PSA will inform your employer in advance.

Do I have to remove my uniform if I go on strike?

No. Members can wear their uniform if (i) they would otherwise be wearing it if they weren’t on strike and (ii) it is allowed out of their work-space. (If you can wear it in your car on the way to work, you can wear it on the picket.)

What should I do if my employer approaches me to ask me not to strike, or encourages me to leave the union?

This is not allowed and you should immediately contact your PSA delegate.

What if my manager asks me if I am striking and asks me to sign something saying that I am?

Members are not required to inform their employer that they may be striking.  Members could respond that “The union is required to give notice of strike to the employer, not the members, and it will be complying with this obligation.”

If non-striking workers are asked to do the work of striking workers, can they refuse to do the work?

Yes, if it is work the non-striking worker would not otherwise do. To cover the work, the employer would need the non-striking worker to agree.


PSA Hardship Fund?

A summary can be found here.

It is a fund set up to provide assistance to members who may experience hardship as a consequence of taking industrial action. The assistance is not intended to be full compensation for loss of wages. The Fund consists of donations from the wider membership and other union members, which we call for at the time any industrial action is due to take place.  

How do I apply?

It is all done on-line. Simply click on this link, fill out and submit the form, and the Hardship Committee will be quickly in touch.

What is the process for members to access this Hardship Fund?

Members can apply using the link above.  Applications are then considered by a committee of the PSA President, Treasurer and the secretariat, in consultation with selected delegates from the Ministry. The MOJ Delegates are Ulualo Mareko and Gordon Mosley.  We will try to process applications as soon as possible after receiving them. Under the policy payment can be by voucher or by deposit into a bank account. 

What are the criteria for accessing the fund?

Criteria will be developed to meet the needs arising from the dispute, reflecting such things as the size of the organisation involved and the form of industrial action decided upon. However, one criterion that will definitely apply is that the member needs to demonstrate a loss as consequence of taking industrial action. This is done by providing us with a copy of pay slip showing the deduction of wages.

Are members able to access this fund on the 1st Strike if it means Financial Hardship will be incurred if they participate in industrial action?

This is what we did in the MBIE and IR disputes and we would probably do so again.

Is there a maximum amount which members can apply for?

We will need to make this decision as part of the development of criteria to reflect the likely demand on the fund in any given industrial action.

What would the allocation be for Ministry of Justice?

There is no allocation as such. There is money in the Fund already and we will call for donations at the time any industrial action is announced. If necessary we may repeat the call for donations.