PSA News - May 2016

Here's the latest monthly round-up from the PSA.

Stand TogetherGet to your annual members' meeting - find out about Stand Together

Each year, the PSA holds annual members' meetings (AMMs) at each worksite, usually in April - June. These meetings are a great chance to get everyone together to make plans for the next year, and to reflect on what we've done in the past twelve months.

This year, the AMMs are also an opportunity for members to learn more and share your thoughts about Stand Together, a new PSA-wide campaign to value all the vital work done by PSA members to create a better society.

If you don't know when your AMM is scheduled for, ask your PSA delegate or organiser. Keep an eye out for the launch of Stand Together at the end of May.

Pink Shirt Day - Speak out against bullyingPink Shirt Day on May 20 - stand together against workplace bullying

On Friday 20 May, we're encouraging PSA members to wear a pink shirt to work - take photos and send them through to

Pink Shirt Day is an international day against all forms of bullying, including in the workplace.

Visit the Pink Shirt Day website to find more information and order materials.

Upcoming eventsUpcoming events - show your support for paid parental leave this mother's day

Auckland supporters of increasing paid parental leave are invited to a mother's day coffee morning this Friday at 10.30am.

In Wellington, supporters are gathering at Victoria University's The Hub at 10am Friday for a mother's day morning tea, and all are welcome.

For more, see the 26 For Babies coalition website.

Across the PSA

Significant job losses are on the cards at two of our Public Service sector enterprises, the Ministry of Justice and Inland Revenue. We are engaging with both agencies to ensure our views are heard strongly. The full impact of Paula Rebstock's review of Child, Youth and Family is slowly coming out as decisions are made and our members there will be involved in helping to determine the future of the organisation.

In bargaining, a proposed collective agreement for the Ministry of Social Development's service delivery staff was rejected, and bargaining will continue. After last year's industrial action, and mediation, we now have an offer out to members at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for them to vote on.

High engagement is on the agenda with the Department of Conservation, which has strong commitment from both parties.

In the State Sector, notice has been relodged for bargaining in Aviation Security (Avsec). At the time of writing, dates for the next round of discussions are being finalised. The meat inspectors agreement in AsureQuality was ratified; a 3 year collective with salary increases across the term. Public Trust bargaining continues. Although progress has been made, a settlement still remains out of reach, with members planning a meeting to discuss the situation. In Worksafe, efforts to build a high engagement relationship are underway. A major conference for PSA delegates is planned, aiming to discuss ways to build a good working relationship. A good meeting took place with the new chief executive of the NZ Transport Agency, which has opened up several options for genuine improvements in engagement.

In Maritime NZ, we have had input into what we hope will be a good pay outcome for members. A settlement was reached with the NZ Blood Service. This include back dated pay rises. We are also engaged in joint work on safe rostering practice, and a discussion about the frequency of callouts and options for remuneration. Bargaining for IAG has been initiated, with claims currently being developed. Bargaining is soon to start in Northpower, with an intention to improve the pay system. Bargaining continues in a number of other organisations. Common problems continue to be negotiating effective pay systems and improvements, and heading off some clawbacks.

There's lots of bargaining coming up in the Community Public Services sector, with NZ Care, Mental Health NZ, Access Homehealth coordinators and Enliven Home Support Central in meetings, while preparation is underway for bargaining at Healthcare NZ Community Health, Access Homehealth support workers, Geneva, Emerge Aotearoa, Pathways and NZ Care service managers.

Members have voted in favour of a new collective agreement at Healthcare Rehabilitation, while the In Between Travel (IBT) monitoring group is having their first meeting this week to review and monitor the new IBT rates and system, and to explore issues around workers who feel they were disadvantaged by the changes.

Most of our District Health Board sector agreements are now complete. This includes our Nursing collective agreements, Non-Auckland Allied agreement, Auckland Clerical and healthAlliance.

Our Auckland Allied agreement is now out for ratification by members, as is our Lower North Island Clerical agreement.

Preparation for bargaining in the Midland Clerical agreement is underway, while the South Island Clerical bargaining has involved an equal pay claim and a strategy to advance that.

A number of Local Government sector agreements are in the preparation stages for bargaining at the moment. Auckland Council PSA members voted in favour of their new agreement recently, as have some smaller councils.

Local government delegates will be meeting around the country over the next few months to talk about sector-wide issues, and we celebrated the 1 year anniversary of our successful merger with the Southern Local Government Officers' Union on 1 April.

Introducing your candidates to be the next PSA president

Nominations have now closed for the role of PSA president, and four candidates have been nominated. We will have more from each candidate in June issue of Working Life, but in the interim, the candidates are (in alphabetical order):

  • Andy Colwell, Auckland District Health Board
  • Benedict Ferguson, Auckland Council
  • Janet Quigley, Canterbury District Health Board
  • Peter Robertshaw, Ministry of Justice

The vote for our next president will take place at PSA Congress in September, by attending delegates from across the PSAs sectors, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina and the four formal networks.

International Workers Day and Workers Memorial Day

Two recent days worth noting are Workers Memorial Day, April 28, and International Workers Day, May 1.

Workers Memorial Day is a day to remember all those killed at work, and to recommit to proper health and safety in the workplace. In New Zealand, memorial services took place in a number of centres, and fundraising collections were held for the Workers Memorial Fund, a union-founded fund that provides support for legal and other services for the families of people killed at work.

International Workers Day was first declared in 1889, and while in New Zealand the traditional workers holiday is Labour Day in October, May Day is still marked in a number of ways. In Wellington a fundraiser dinner was held for UnionAID, the union movement's international aid and development charity, while Palmerston North held their traditional May Day concert. In Christchurch, a new Trade Union Centre was opened for the first time since the September 2011 earthquake, with the central meeting room named after former CTU president Helen Kelly.

Whistleblowing - what's the story?

The biggest ever research project into whistleblowing, and how well equipped New Zealand and Australian organisations are to manage this safely and well, was launched on 4 May.  Whistling While They Work 2: improving managerial responses to whistleblowing in public and private sector organisations is being led out of an Australian university but involves New Zealand’s State Services Commission and Victoria University.

Ensuring that employees and others have safe channels through which to raise wrongdoing concerns, and that organisations are well equipped to address them and to protect those who raise them, are vital elements of good management and integrity in modern organisations.

The project, involving two surveys (one for organisations and one for managers and employees), will be used to inform new guidance for organisations, including a proposed new Australian and New Zealand Standard for whistleblowing programs. The PSA encourages all of the organisations where PSA members work to take part.

PSA PlusNew look for PSA Plus

We're rolling out a new look for our PSA Plus materials, including the PSA holiday homes.

Already the member benefits part of the PSA website has been improved to make it easier to access our great benefits, and new print materials will start rolling out soon.

We've also added some great new benefits - check them out today!

Making sure your pay is correct

We are following up with all employers where PSA members work to ensure that they are properly complying with the Holidays Act, following problems coming to light at MBIE.

So far we have received 30 responses from employers, and while many have advised they are implementing correctly, some have noted issues, and where these have been identified we have followed up to ensure that any back-pay owed is paid.

We will continue to follow up with these and other employers. In some workplaces, your organiser may need to collect evidence from members - if you are asked, please help by providing this so we can ensure you are paid correctly.

PSA speaking out

In the media, PSA national secretary Glenn Barclay spoke out about the creation of Fire and Emergency New Zealand from a merger of existing Fire Service, rural and volunteer brigades.

Glenn told Newstalk ZB that "Any restructuring or review is unsettling for staff. We are pleased that the Minister has given a commitment not to cut jobs and to keep all employee's entitlements. That means a lot to our members."

PSA organiser Julie Morton spoke at a rally about the poor quality of food provided to patients at Southern DHB since the contract was outsourced to Compass, and she called for an independent investigation into sterile supply practices at Dunedin Hospital after concerns were raised by union members.

The PSA submitted to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Our submission noted the extremely short timeframe for submissions, and for MPs to consider them, and recommended that the Committee extend these so as to enable New Zealanders to better have their say on this agreement.