PSA News - June 2016
Here's the latest monthly round-up from the PSA.
Budget 2016 – what does it mean for you?
Budget 2016 came out, and while people are still pouring through the details to analyse what it all means, we can already see some headlines that show bad news for the PSA members feeling the crunch of doing more and more with less and less, and for all New Zealanders who rely on quality public services.
In the health sector, the Council of Trade Unions estimates that our health system has $300 million less to work with than it had last year – meaning more pressure on overworked public health staff, including PSA members.
Researcher and author Max Rashbrooke said of the Budget that "it does the bare minimum to defuse potential political damage in a range of areas – homelessness and health are prime among them – but almost nothing to address the country’s most deep-rooted, systemic social problems."
Meanwhile, the PSA said that our members are the ones who deserve plaudits, not Finance Minister Bill English, as public servants are doing it hard, keeping vital public services operating for everyone's benefit in ever harder conditions.
Community Living taking action in the Waikato
Our wonderful members at Community Living in Hamilton are taking action for fair pay, after their employer offered just a 15 cents per hour pay rise.
They'll be taking further action later in June, alongside colleagues who are members of the E tū union. Check out the PSA website for more details.
Handy PSA resources for your office
Have you got a PSA noticeboard at your office that's missing a sign? Are you having a meeting, but don't know how to record the minutes?
We're producing a range of resources that PSA members can download, print and use in your workplaces – just log in to MyPSA and grab them.
Stand Together – sign up today and win!
Stand Together - Ka tū tahi tātou campaigns for high quality public and community services, from health to social services and all the things our communities rely on.
Sign up today for your chance to win a t-shirt – and to nominate your local hero.
Across the PSA
In the State Sector, The Tertiary committee has met and have been keeping in constant communication. Most organisations now have functioning delegate committees and membership has been reasonably stable in the cluster – 520 members with 33 delegates nationally. Half of the universities will be in bargaining this year, with the PSA working closely with the Tertiary Education Union (TEU).
The NZ Fire Service and the government have announced the amalgamation of the Service and Rural Fire into one organisation. The PSA are considered a stakeholder and we have been briefed on the process for this to occur. We will be looking to support members and identify opportunities where they exist during the amalgamation. We are currently in bargaining with the Fire service and meet again in June.
Careers NZ are being moved into the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) , following a recent government decision. We have met with both chief executives to discuss the way forward. Our first focus will be on a secure transfer of Careers NZ members into TEC. TEC will be in bargaining around the expected time of the transfer – the first half of 2017. Careers NZ is currently in bargaining.
In Babcocks NZ, where we are in joint bargaining with E Tu, members have voted for a back-dated 1.75% pay increase, with a union-only benefit of 1 day of special leave each year.
Aviation Security is continuing in bargaining, and we aim to have an update out to members very soon, following another bargaining round last Friday.
At the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), we have held productive meetings with the new chief executive, and are revitalising our engagement processes. We have tidied up our access to new employees, and are now engaged in remuneration discussions.
Members at Alpine Energy in Timaru have rejected an offer of 1.5%, as we are seeking 2%. Mediation has not resolved this, so we are seeking to discuss this with the chief executive next week.
In Maritime NZ, members have provided feedback on a number of proposed changes to employment policies, including the performance and the disciplinary policies. PSA delegates continue to discuss these policies with the employer, and will report on progress to members shortly.
Bargaining continues in other organisations, and we are hopeful that some outcomes can be reported on next month.
The Community Public Services sector is busy as ever with proposed collective agreements going out for voting at Auckland Disability Law, Community Law Wellington / Hutt, and NZ Care / Mental Health NZ.
Bargaining is underway at NZ Care (service managers), Access Homehealth (coordinators), Presbytarian Support Upper South (for a first ever collective) and Central, Geneva Health, Home Care Medical, Abi, Barnados, Nelson Marlborough DHB disability support, and Waitemata DHB home support.
We're talking to members in preparation for bargaining at Bupa, HHL Community Health, Access (support workers), Pathways, Emerge Aotearoa, and Salvation Army Homecare.
Finally, we've reached agreements at PACT, Stand Children's Services, and Nurse Maude (coordination).
Only two District Health Board sector agreements are left to negotiate. After more than a year in bargaining, a new Auckland DHBs Allied and Technical MECA has been ratified, with members overwhelmingly voting in favour of the agreement.
The two agreements that remain are the South Island Clerical and Administrative MECA, which is currently in bargaining, and the Midlands Clerical and Administrative MECA, which will start bargaining soon.
We're also reviewing our DHB sector plan and bargaining strategy, and we are aware that underfunding, staff shortages and proposals to extend hours of work are common issues faced by many across the sector. Work alongside the other health unions also continues.
A large number of Local Government sector agreements expire on June 30, and so this sector is busy with bargaining. Christchurch City Council, our second largest employer in the sector, started bargaining in late May.
Other organisations in bargaining include Ashburton and Hurunui District Councils, Waitaki District Council, Tauranga City Council and Invercargill City Council.
At Wellington City Council, we signed our first Workers' Participation Agreement, and at the Wellington Museums Trust activity continues around the issue of a Living Wage.
We have signed a new collective agreement at Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Ahead of this year's local body elections, political neutrality is an issue that many PSA members are concerned about, and following the development of our guidance we are continuing to discuss this issue with the Society of Local Government Managers.
PSA members speaking out for equal pay and against bullying
In Wellington, PSA members joined MPs from the Labour, Green, NZ First and Māori Party to mark the second Public Service Working For Free Day. Women in the public service are paid an average of 14% less than their male counterparts, so with 14% remaining in the public service's financial year, they are effectively working for free from May 10 until the end of June.
PSA members around the country also marked Pink Shirt Day on May 20, an international day against all forms of bullying, including these physiotherapists at Canterbury DHB.
Govt needs to stop passing the buck to PSA members for lack of social housing
There's a serious lack of social housing in New Zealand, and in Auckland in particular. Recently, John Key has tried to pass the buck on the issue, telling anyone without somewhere to sleep that they should approach Work and Income with their issue. We know our members there will be doing all they can, but where social housing simply doesn't exist in the required numbers, their options are limited.
PSA national secretary Glenn Barclay said that "this situation is due to the deliberate choices made by Mr Key and his ministers. They have carved up Housing New Zealand’s work and placed responsibility for assessments on the Ministry of Social Development. Our members want to help, but this government’s policies are getting in the way."
Recruiting people to the PSA – it's fun, easy and so important!
We're a big union, made up of more than 62,000 people across New Zealand. But we didn't get that way by accident – we've grown every year for the last five years through the hard work of members like you, talking to your workmates and convincing them that we're stronger when we work together.
Getting more people to join our union whānau isn't a task just for delegates or paid PSA staff, it's a simple way that we can all help to grow our shared voice in the workplace. In a recent issue of Working Life, some of our great delegates shared their tips and tricks for effective recruitment.
Meanwhile, the PSA's phone recruitment team is working hard, calling people who have just started new jobs to invite them to join. If you have a new colleague and don't feel able to approach them yourself, you can call the PSA Organising Centre on 0508 367 772 and ask for the phone recruitment team to give them a call.
Making sure your pay is correct
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. You may remember news stories from April about payroll issues at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). We have uncovered more widespread issues with the way some members are paid.
We have contacted all of the organisations were PSA members work asking them to audit their payroll systems to make sure they comply with employment standards legislation and collective agreement entitlements. PSA staff are following up to ensure this happens.
Work done by the Labour Inspectorate indicates that sitting behind this are not just issues with payroll systems and the way they’re set up but also undervaluation of payroll functions and lack of support for payroll practitioners.
Organisations need to properly support their payroll people. We’re encouraging all PSA members working in payroll to contact the New Zealand Payroll Practitioners Association to access professional development and certification. If you are covered by a PSA collective agreement this may provide for your annual certification fee being paid by your employer.
PSA speaking out
In the media, PSA and E tū members working at Community Living in Hamilton took action after being offered just a 15 cents per hour pay increase by their employer. National secretary Glenn Barclay spoke to RNZ's Insight programme about issues facing older workers, and he welcomed the new state services commissioner Peter Hughes who starts in the role in July. The increasing use of locums at CCDHB is a concern, and national secretary Erin Polaczuk told Fairfax Media that continuity of care was lost because of the shortage of permanent staff.