PSA News June 2017
Welcome to your June issue of PSA News, the monthly roundup of what's going on across our union.
Stand Together for mental health support workers
This week the PSA and E tū took another step forward for mental health, filing an equal pay case for all mental health support workers with the Employment Relations Authority.
Mental health support worker Pollyanna Alo led the charge, saying it was completely unfair mental health support workers receive unequal pay: “We're highly qualified, and we work under intense pressure and stress trying to address serious mental health issues like suicide," Pollyanna Alo says.
Will you get behind mental health workers like Pollyanna?
- Ask your workmates to join the union – the more members we have the stronger we are
- Visit your local MP and tell them how you feel to be left out of the settlement
- Talk with union delegates and organisers about planning activities for your area
- Attend equal pay events and bring people with you.
Because, It’s not equal if it’s not for everyone.
On 1 July, we held Health Funding Crisis Forum’s in Christchurch, Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Dunedin and Invercargill. The forums were a great opportunity to get together with a diverse range of members to talk about funding issues and solutions in the mental health sector.
If you’re interested in finding our more about the Yes We Care Campaign check out our roadshow video here.
Public servants need a pay rise
Pay rises for public servants are non-negotiable for the PSA. As we head into campaign season, the PSA’s political advocacy priorities are clear: The squeeze on public sector pay must end.
In the coming months, PSA national secretaries will be speaking plainly about the widening gap between public and private sector salaries. We’ll be letting all politicians know that our expectations aren’t academic, they’re backed more than 60,000 PSA members who are willing to vote for a fair deal for the people that keep New Zealand running.
But pay rises are not our only ask. We need to see a more coherent and consistent approach to pay across the state sector. The current system is playing government departments off against one another with vastly different pay scales for similar positions.
It’s time for the State Services Commission to assist agencies to develop a more consistent, coherent approach.
Budget 2017: A bad balancing act
PM Bill English calls it a "budget that delivers" - the PSA says Budget 2017 is disappointing and lacks heart.
Budget 2017 was supposed to be about using the Government’s significant surplus to take the pressure of low and middle-income families and strained public services.
Ahead of the Budget, PSA members called on the Government to deliver proper funding for equal pay, a significant injection of cash and resources for health (particularly mental health), and urgent action on housing in Auckland.
Instead, what Finance Minister Steven Joyce presented was a budget heavy in the rhetoric of “hard work rewarded” with little in the way of actual support for essential public services or a strategy for equal pay overall.
The Government’s personal income tax cuts come at the expense of our desperately underfunded public services.
Tax cuts as a policy priority were underlined at the weekend’s National Party Conference, where Prime Minister Bill English promised a second iteration of the families income package in 2018.
Here at the PSA we have an acute sense of what tax pays for. Essential public services are struggling, and our priority is to ensure we have a government that gets the basics right, before dangling personal tax cuts in front of voters. That’s the kind of electioneering that does our country a disservice.
Leadership training – PSA Youth
More than 70 PSA Youth members from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch put their hands up for leadership training this month.
PSA Youth member David Klein from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision said he signed up for leadership training to learn more about different leadership styles, and how they could contribute to his role as a PSA delegate.
“I think youth bring new styles of leadership, or new ways of approaching issues,” David Klein said.
Organiser Lauren Hourigan, who joined the PSA as a delegate herself at 23 years old, says the training is about encouraging young people to step into leadership roles within the union, their workplaces and their communities.
“We have such a talented network of youth members and delegates. These courses are a chance to bring aspiring leaders together in a way that inspires action and personal development.”
June Working Life
Working Life June is out now! This issue focuses on our campaign for change, 100 days out from the election. There's also an update on campaign for better health services, a story about how to win at equal pay, and we fill you in on our book about tax and explain why it's a more interesting and vital subject than you might think. Look out for it arriving at your workplace or home. Click here to read it online.
PSA submit on suicide prevention strategy
PSA members have enormous expertise and experience when it comes to mental health support and suicide prevention. This month, our collective perspective is included in the PSA’s submission to the Ministry of Health in response to its draft Strategy to Prevent Suicide in New Zealand.
The PSA’s submission, which was made public today, has been informed by members across the organisation including those in mental health, the PSA’s Māori representative structure Te Rūnanga, the PSA Youth Network (PSAY) and Out@PSA.
Correction: Labour’s intern scheme
A story printed on Friday 23 June reported the PSA was “likely” involved with the Labour Party’s intern scheme. This is patently untrue. As you know, the PSA is not and has never been affiliated to or funded the Labour Party. The PSA Rules prohibit this. We do not donate to any political party and we don’t support any party in particular during elections. We sought a correction to the story and the journalist removed this content immediately.
PSA in the community
National Organiser Willie Cochrane spoke with St John’s College students in Hastings last week in a special session on social justice.
The business students learnt about the history of the labour movement, the value of union membership and the function of industrial relations in New Zealand’s workplaces.
“Sessions like this are a great opportunity to engage students in debates about workplace rights and responsibilities as well as to give them some local content for lessons related to the Labour movement.” Willie Cochrane said.
“While students enjoy watching films like Billy Elliot and Pride , what they were really interested in was what happened in the workplace in their own backyard”
Using the recent example of the bargaining process at Corrections, Willie talked about dispute resolution, the implications of the 90 day trial period and the issues we are preparing for as a result of new technologies in the work place.
In sum a balanced, informative session, a first for St Johns College in its on-going journey to develop well educated young men with a commitment to social justice.