A word from PSA president, Janet Quigley
We’re now several months into our new Labour – New Zealand First – Green Party Government, and already there’s been plenty of changes to be pleased with. Our feature article this issue (pages 8-11) takes a good look at the new government's plans for employment law, which reverse many of the anti-worker changes introduced by their predecessors.
Our work lobbying and demanding more change isn’t over though, not by a long shot. While we have a Government that is perhaps more open to our ideas than previously, we still have to put in the mahi – meeting with ministers, writing submissions and campaigning publicly for the issues we care about.
We are particularly glad to see that the Government has reconvened the Joint Working Group, and will introduce the changes to the Equal Pay Act that will make it easier for women to get paid fairly for our work. We want to see the kind of victories that our fellow union members working in aged and disability care achieved last year. You can find out more about this on pages 20-21.
So many PSA members across the country took part in our Yes We Care campaign in the build up to the election, fighting for better mental services for the people who need them and the staff who provide them. PSA members are in both groups, of course, and we will be closely involved in the review (see pages 14-15) that the Government has committed to, working on making real improvements to this vital part of our health system.
In order to increase our influence politically, our union structure also needs to be strong internally. Part of this is the PSA’s commitment to bicultural unionism and the proper recognition of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We invited unionist and Māori political commentator Morgan Godfery to dig into what it means for our union movement to properly recognise Te Tiriti, and you can read his article on pages 12-13.
In April, another part of building a strong union structure will start, with Annual Members’ Meetings (AMM) taking place across PSA worksites all over New Zealand. At these meetings, you’ll get a chance to raise issues, hear about what’s happening in other parts of our union, and to elect delegates who will represent you.
I urge you all to attend your AMM – talk with your delegate or organiser about when and where it’s happening – and to consider putting yourself forward as a delegate. Being a delegate is not only an important role, it is also an amazing learning opportunity. You’ll be given (free) training and support from PSA staff, and who knows where it could take you?
I’m so glad that I first stood as a delegate, many years ago – back then I never would have imagined that one day you would elect me to be the president of our union, or that my role would take me around New Zealand and across the world to meet other unionists and share our successes and the lessons learned from our failures.
As always, it is an honour for me to lead our union, and I hope you see yourself reflected in these pages.
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata,he tangata, he tangata.
Haere ora, Haere pai