PSA News - April 2016
Here's the latest monthly round-up from the PSA
Auckland health workers stand strong and win - planned strike is off
Congratulations to the 3000 Auckland Allied staff who stood up to DHBs and have preserved the terms and conditions in their contracts. You've inspired us with your strength and hard work and shown exactly what can be done when we stand together.
The day before a planned strike, we've negotiated a proposed settlement for Allied, Public Health, Technical and Scientific at Auckland region DHBs The PSA is recommending members accept this settlement, and we will be holding meetings to discuss and vote on the proposed settlement in the near future.
Local body elections - what our local government members need to know
All New Zealanders have the democratic right to participate in local government elections. Working for a council doesn’t affect that right.
Ahead of this year's local body elections, we've produced advice for our members on what they can do, and their rights.
The March issue of Working Life is out now in hardcopy, but did you know you can also read it online?
New website that explains the importance of equal pay!
Equal pay is a simple issue - nobody should be paid less because of their gender. This new website explains the issue simply and gives some facts and figures to explain why everybody should care about equal pay.
If your friends or family are asking about equal pay and what it means, now you can show them!
Across the PSA
In the Public Service, the final report from the Paula Rebstock led review into Child, Youth and Family (CYF) has been released by minister Anne Tolley. The documents make it clear there will be a substantial impact on our members and their families, but we are still waiting for details, and CYF staff will be left with little opportunity to give their input.
We are particularly concerned about implied criticism of the integrity of social workers in the report, who are suffering from a lack of adequate support from their organisation. The level of outsourcing proposed is also a major concern, both in terms of the impact on jobs and professional development, but also on the quality of service for our at-risk children and families.
Negotiations are getting busier in the State Sector, where bargaining continues for Aviation Security, following a rejection of an offer before Christmas last year. Public Trust negotiations also remain unresolved, after several months in bargaining.
A new agreement for PSA members at NZ Post has been developed. Bargaining is underway in several other organisations, and are progressing generally well. Where there are difficulties, these tend to be problems in negotiating a decent pay rise, and some employers wishing to cut back on entitlements, such as redundancy or leave.
Our Community Public Services sector has a wide range of bargaining underway, including at Nurse Maude, Rescare Homes Trust and Presbyterian Support Central.
The HHL group contains a range of employers of PSA members. At Healthcare Rehabilitation Limited, we recently ratified our first ever collective agreement, while NZ Care have commenced bargaining and PSA reps have requested information about funding received. Meetings are currently being held to update members there on the discussions between the employer and union reps and seek the views of members. Healthcare NZ are about to commence meetings with members to get their key issues for the negotiations, as are Community Health.
Members at Geneva have given notice to the employer we are seeking a new collective agreement for both disability and home support workers. Meetings occurring for members and those interested to be covered by a collective agreement. In Hamilton, Community Living PSA members are seeking an increase to the current employer offer, and negotiations will continue on 12 April. Salvation Army members begin their bargaining on June 8 and 9.
We have formally initiated bargaining with Access Homehealth, while coordinators at Access are still in negotiations for their first ever collective agreement.
The PSA is also playing a leading role in the care and support equal pay negotiations with Government and employers. These were scheduled to report back to the Government in March, however efforts will now continue with a new target of reporting back this month.
Get along to your annual members' meeting
Most PSA sites will have annual members' meetings (AMM) in April, May or June. Make sure you get along to the one at your workplace!
If you don't know when your AMM is, talk to your delegate or organiser.
At your AMM, you'll get the chance to find out about what the PSA is doing in your workplace, across your sector and get a glimpse at the major issues our 62,000 members care about.
You'll also get a first look at an upcoming campaign that we'll be running and the chance to feed your thoughts into the campaign planning process.
Our union is only as strong as we make it - by showing up and getting involved, we're creating a better working life for everyone.
PSA Congress coming up
Every second year we hold PSA Congress. Over a hundred PSA delegates from around the country gather to elect our union's president, participate in discussions and workshops and set the strategic direction for our organisation.
This year, Congress will be held on 20 and 21 September at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington.
Issues for discussion and voting can be raised by any of the PSA's sector committees, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina or one of the formal PSA networks. Delegates at the conference are there to represent your views.
After two terms, Mike Tana will stand down as PSA president at Congress, and a new president will be elected. Nominations for president from the sector committees and Te Rūnanga close this month. Look out for an interview with the new president in the December issue of Working Life, the PSA's quarterly magazine.
Making sure your pay is correct
You may have read in the news recently about payroll issues at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). It is likely that MBIE is not the only place with problems.
We have written to all employers that the PSA covers asking them to audit their payroll systems to make sure they comply with employment standards legislation and collective agreement entitlements. Employers will be encouraged to engage with us on any issues identified. Specifically, if they find that their system is non-compliant, employers are being asked to:
• formally notify us; and
• promptly remedy this; and
• promptly compensate any affected PSA members.
It is important that everybody is paid what they are entitled to, and we are making sure this is the case for all PSA members.
To help our 3000+ delegates, we offer a range of training courses. Now, we're producing a series of guides for new delegates, the first of which is now available. Hard copies are being sent to all new delegates, but all delegates can access a screen-friendly version for reading on their computer, tablet or smartphone.
Later this year, we'll have more guides - including a plain language guide to employment law, and a guide to representing members in disciplinary situations.
What you told us about the age of superannuation
Thanks to the more than 4000 PSA members who took our survey asking for your views on the age of eligibility for superannuation. 77.6% of members who answered the survey favoured retaining 65 as the age of eligibility, while 17.5% thought the age should be raised, and 4.8% were undecided or didn't know.
Following this, a policy was developed and has now been signed off by the PSA Executive Board. This policy outlines our opposition to raising the age of eligibility for superannuation, and includes reasoning for our concerns.
PSA speaking out
In the media, we've been getting lots of coverage in the buildup to the Auckland allied health strike, while we've also responded to workload issues in probation services. Job losses at the Ministry of Justice made the front page of the Dominion Post, including our concerns, while upcoming job cuts as IRD goes through its own business transformation project continue to be in the news.
The PSA submitted on New Zealand’s progress in implementing its Open Government Partnership Action Plan for 2014-15, noting that:
a. the action plan needs to be based on new initiatives rather than existing initiatives, or at least build on or accelerates existing initiatives to progress towards open and accountable government
b. the initiatives in the action plan need to be directly relevant to achieving open and accountable government.
c. the National Integrity System Assessment provides the greatest opportunity for new actions.
Lastly, we contributed to a joint NZCTU, PSA and E tū Submission on the Discussion Document for Purposes of In-Between Travel Settlement Agreement.
Community Public Services State Sector Public Service District Health Boards Local Government PSA Auckland District Health Board Counties Manukau District Health Board Waitemata District Health Board MSD and Oranga Tamariki