"Our members have had enough" - MBIE/IR strike action
Thousands of PSA members around New Zealand walked off the job today in the first co-ordinated strike action in the public service for many years.
More than 4000 members at Inland Revenue (IR) and the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE) held a two-hour strike in towns and cities around the country.
“For many of our members, this was the first time they had ever taken part in a protest – let alone industrial action,” PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.
“It was inspiring to see their enthusiasm and energy as they stood together with their union colleagues in support of a fair deal.”
- In Wellington, around 500 people marched in cold rainy weather to tell their employers they want a fair deal. CTU President Richard Wagstaff told the crowd: "We're here to send a message: we won't be walked over."
- Auckland saw 200 members occupy the four corners of the Victoria St-Queen St intersection and then attended a rally in Freyberg Place, while 250 attended a rally in Manukau City
- In Tauranga, 50 members marched to the Strand
- 150 members in Hamilton marched down Victoria Street
- In Whangarei members held a street picket
- Palmerston North – 120 members held a rally at the Globe Theatre
- Christchurch – close to 200 members marched down Cashel St Mall
- Dunedin – 50 members marched through the central city
Members in smaller centres elected to do community work instead of rallying:
- Invercargill members went to Ronald McDonald House - cooked, baked and cleaned for the residents
- in Timaru PSA President Janet Quigley joined members helping out at the South Canterbury Hospice shop
- Meanwhile in Nelson, PSA members braved the elements to plant trees
“We’ve heard IR were forced to close some regional front-line offices, and set up a separate 0800 number for people ringing to support our members,” Mr Barclay says.
“We hope today’s action gave them and MBIE pause for thought.
“Our members’ asks are extremely reasonable: a modest across-the-board pay increase, and fair pay systems.
“Whenever the employers are ready to come back to the table and negotiate on these two issues, we will be glad to resume talks.”
A further two-hour stoppage is planned for July 23.