Paul Smith – half a century with the PSA
Paul Smith, now celebrating 50 years with the PSA, has had a varied career.
He currently works for Inland Revenue but started out at the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC) in 1967.
His first duties: sweeping, dusting and polishing. His starting salary: $730 a year.
“Back then what went to air was very severely controlled,” he says.
“I remember one incident where a radio commercial for Clearasil had to be urgently edited before it went to air because it contained the word ‘pimple’. We had to insert the word ‘blemish’ in its place.”
Smith says he remembers union strikes from a bygone era.
“Those union members and officials certainly paved the way for the conditions we have today. In those days there was more direct influence from government on the operation.
“When I first started work I was entitled to one week’s annual leave, now I am entitled to five.
“Back in 1967 it was a time of compulsory unionism. My parents and grandparents were great Labour supporters and I guess I inherited their philosophy.”
There has never been a more important time to be a union member than in 2017, says Paul.
“In unity there is strength. The world has changed. The way we work has changed. The way people interact with each other has changed. Technology is moving at a pace never seen before.
“Self-service, and all that entails, is eroding the need for people to be employed in more and more sectors. Being a union member gives you support, encouragement, protection and power.”
Family plays a big part in Paul’s life – his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He enjoys sports, now as a spectator, as well as art and music from the 60s and 70s.
“I would love to travel,” he says.
“My wife and I recently went on a cruise around some of the Pacific Islands. I would love to do more of that.”