PSA News - September 2016

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

Hui Taumata: our Māori members gather

hui taumataFrom 24-26 August, Māori PSA members from across the country came together at Orongomai Marae for kai, korero and ranga wairua.

The theme of this year’s Hui Taumata was Stand Together Ka Tu Tahi Tātou, tying the hui in with the PSA’s campaign for quality public and community services.

On the last day of the hui, five market-stall styled desks were set up on Friday, to present Māori work and successes in each of our five sectors. Attendees from each sector stood up and spoke about their achievements and challenges in a wide variety of workplaces.

A full report on the hui will be in the September issue of Working Life, the PSA magazine.

Working Life September Cover low resWorking Life

The September issue of Working Life will be coming out to you soon. This issue takes an in-depth look at the upcoming local body and DHB elections, and features a handy pull-out poster to help you understand candidates' jargon!

We also look at family violence, unions in the Australian election, meet our oldest delegate, and we reveal dangerous practices at some of our hospitals.

equal pay petition handoverEqual pay - it's time

Yesterday we handed over our petition with more than 10,400 signatures, calling on the Government to adopt the equal pay principles immediately. Thanks to everyone who signed the petition and shared it with their friends.

We also joined a group of high school students at Parliament recently, to support them raising equal pay as an issue for future generations of working women.

Participate posterPSA in your office

Do you have some empty wall space that needs filling? Or some old posters that need updating? Consider the PSA's poster range for all your office decorating needs! From sharp and sophisticated through to fun and informal, our range of posters is constantly growing.

Can't print at work? Contact us at with which posters you're after and where you want them posted to and we'll send them to you at no cost.

Local body and DHB elections coming up: vote Sept 16 – Oct 8

It's critically important that we have our say in the upcoming local body and DHB elections, and that we all make sure our friends and whānau do as well.

We need to stand together for local democracy, for publicly owned assets and services, for our communities to be strong and for the people working for our councils and our healthcare system to be well paid.

Together, the digital campaigning arm of the Council of Trade Unions, is asking people to commit to supporting local democracy.

Sign up online and they will inform you about upcoming events in your area and share useful information.

On Facebook, our Stand Together campaign is profiling some of the candidates from across the country, including many PSA members. Next week, we'll be sending out a guide to the elections and how to cut through the jargon you'll find in most candidates' promotional material.

On the electoral roll at your current address? You will receive your voting papers in the mail by September 21. Your papers must arrive at your local Council by post or hand by 12 noon on October 8.

Not on the electoral roll? Apply to cast a special vote: phone the Electoral Office, 0800 922 822.

Beyond HR – new booklet launched

In August, the PSA hosted David Coats, an English expert in employment and high-engagement, for ten packed days of meetings, seminars and presentations in Auckland and Wellington. While here, David, the former head of economic and social affairs for the UK’s Trade Union Congress, spoke to a number of audiences about the future of work, how to create highly engaged workplaces, and the role of unions.

Accompanying his tour, we’re pleased to launch Beyond Human Resources: Towards the High-Engagement Workplace, a short booklet about the development of human resources and the changes that the HR sector needs to make in order to better foster engagement from people in our workplaces.

David’s support of high-engagement models aligns well with the PSA’s strategic agenda of Transforming Our Workplaces. We are continuing to encourage employers to adopt high-engagement strategies which involve managers working alongside PSA members to improve our working lives, and we have a number of successful pilots and programmes underway.

Read the booklet online.

PSA members meet the Wellington mayoral candidates

Seven of Wellington's mayoral hopefuls gathered at the PSA in the first candidates' meeting of the 2016 local body elections.

Justin Lester, Jo Coughlan, Helene Ritchie, Keith Johnson, Nicola Young, Andy Foster and Nick Leggett each gave a two-minute "elevator pitch" setting out their election platform - and answered questions from the audience.

mayoral2Top of the agenda was privatisation, with asset sales a hot topic in the wake of comments by Finance Minister Bill English - and what the candidates thought about the role of the public service in the city.

Three of the seven came out strongly in support of the Living Wage, with Mr Lester, Ms Ritchie and Mr Leggett firmly in favour of Wellington becoming an accredited Living Wage employer.

Upcoming events - Rally for Democracy and Living Wage candidate forums

Nationwide Rallies for Democracy

It's Our Future, a group that has led the campaign against the TPPA over the last few years, has organised a national day of action on September 10 that they are calling the Rally For Democracy.

Events will be held across the country in Hokianga, Whangarei, Auckland, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Oamaru and Dunedin.

For more details, check out the It's Our Future website.

Living Wage forums in Porirua and Hutt City

Over the next week, the Living Wage movement has organised forums where candidates for Hutt City Council and Porirua City Council will be challenged to commit to the Living Wage for council staff and contractors.

See the Living Wage website for more details.

New resource for delegates responding to sexual harassment

For PSA delegates, responding to sexual harassment can be complex – needing to address the issue while ensuring that those who have been harassed are not subject to further victimisation.

A new resource, Calling Out Sexual Harassment: A guide to dealing with sexual harassment and creating safe, respectful workplaces is now available to help guide delegates and members through dealing with the issue.

The booklet provides useful definitions, details of the impact of sexual harassment, how it differs from other forms of bullying and harassment, and the law. Our role as PSA delegates and members in confronting sexual harassment and ensuring our organisations have strong policies and procedures in place is extensively covered, so that anyone can make sure they know what to do, and how their organisation should act where sexual harassment is reported.

Lastly, the booklet has a step-by-step guide that delegates can use to make sure that a person who has been sexually harassed gets the support they need to raise the issues in ways that keep them feeling safe.

As the booklet says, “by working toward a culture where negative and inappropriate words and actions are not tolerated you are ensuring that your place of employment is safer, more productive and a lot more enjoyable – for everyone.”

Across the PSA

In the State Sector, bargaining is currently underway at WorkSafe, Housing NZ, Careers NZ, EPA, CAA, EECA and NIWA. A significant restructuring with the possibility of job losses is also happening at Housing NZ. We are currently submitting on the proposed merger of Careers NZ and the Tertiary Education Commission. Members at ESR are voting on a proposed new collective agreement.

We are also balloting on industrial action alongside our friends in the Tertiary Education Union at both Victoria University and Auckland University.

The Community Public Services sector is our sector with the most collective agreements, and a large number are in the bargaining process. This includes Bupa, Nurse Maude, Emerge, Te Roopu Taurima, Access Homehealth, Geneva, Rescare, Care NZ, NZ Care, Homecare Medical, PSC Enliven, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Access Coordinators, Taikura, Salvation Army, Community Connection, Great Start, Life Unlimited, Spectrum, Mash Trust, Royal District Nursing Services, Barnados national and Christchurch, Waipareira Trust, Oxfam, Walsh Trust.

Work is also happening across the sector on the in-between travel agreement, and on changes to security of work thanks to the zero-hours contracts legislation.

For our Public Service sector:

New Ministry - Anne Tolley, the minister of social development, has announced that the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (MVCOT) will come into existence on 1 April 2017. The Ministry, which will be headed by current Bupa Care Services boss Gráinne Moss, will encompass the staff and functions currently handled by Child Youth and Family and some other Ministry of Social Development (MSD) functions including part of Community Investment.

Our intention is to work constructively with MSD over the transition plan to the new agency, to make sure the move is as simple and straightforward as possible for the 4000 people expected to work at MVCOT.

Massive workloads have been a major issue for many years now that have impacted on the quality of care provided, and it’s crucial that this issue is addressed as plans are developed for the new ministry. Our MSD members are passionate about helping whānau to thrive, but they need the time to do their jobs properly.

Another issue we’ll be keeping an eye on is the possible use of contracting out core services as a way of de-skilling the workforce and lowering wages. We know that the best chance to support whānau is to have qualified social workers working alongside them, and we will make sure that this is heard loud and clear throughout the planning process for the new Ministry.

Bargaining - The Probation and Community Corrections Collective Agreement has been ratified, with a 2% increase per annum over a 2 year term. It also included an additional step for Probation Officers and a number of commitments to be working through in working parties, most significanty over workloads. Other negotiations continue in MPI; LINZ; ERO; Health; Transport; NZ Defence and MSD.

High Engagement - David Coats, a visiting British expert on employment relations, met with delegates and managers from a number of government agencies to discuss ‘high engagement’ benefits and strategies. We are developing initiatives in a number of government agencies focused on building membership voice and influence over their work. We are considering ways to foster learnings across these agencies.

Hui Taumata - The recent hui taumata was well supported by the public service sector. The hui was a good prompt to continue the good work on building Māori organisation with and across government agencies, building Māori voice and recognition in the workplace. Ngā Kaupapa is acting as proving to be a very useful framework for developing and guiding organising activity.

In the District Health Board sector, the South Island Clerical MECA has been ratified. That leaves only 1 of the key 8 PSA MECAs in the sector yet to be settled. A round of meetings is being held to update members on progress in the Midlands Clerical MECA, particularly around the issue of establishing a joint PSA/DHB job evaluation process to ensure fair and consistent placement on the salary scales.

Member nominations are being sort to represent the PSA Mental Health Working Group set up as part of the settlement of the Nursing MECAs. The Working Group will be looking at the future of mental health services, workforce development and conditions.

In October the PSA will commence  a round of mental health member forums in the main centres.

The National engagement forum set up through the settlement of Allied MECAs has been rescheduled to meet shortly.

The PSA is  one of the sponsors of the Anaesthetic Technicians National Conference being held in Auckland this month. We also recently held a successful national event for social workers in Auckland.

The DHB organisers have held national meeting in Wellington where they commenced the process of setting out a sector plan and reviewing the bargaining strategy in time for next year’s DHB bargaining round. The plan includes a stand of the PSA Stand Together campaign focused on workloads and funding in the sector.

This week the Local Government sector organisers will be meeting nationally in Wellington. The meeting will look at developing a sector plan that reflect the wider PSA's 4 strategic goals and includes a review of the current sector bargaining strategy.

The Local Government Sector Committee recently sponsored a hui for library staff which was held in Auckland. This followed the Sector Conference last year which identified library staff as the largest and most unionised occupational group in local government. There were 21 delegates from 15 Councils and 2 delegates from National Library present as well as a representative from the Tertiary Education Union which represents university and polytech based staff.

The hui had two main themes: equal pay for library staff and the future of libraries. Participants took part in an in depth discussion lead by equal pay organiser Gabriel Brettkelly on the opportunities for an equal pay case in line with developments in many other industries. Staff in libraries are overwhelmingly female and badly paid. Louise LaHatte, president-elect of LIANZA, the professional association for library staff, gave a thoughtful presentation on international trends in libraries and the strengths, opportunities and threats facing workers.

In addition there were sessions on the PSA Stand Together political campaign, our national secretary Glenn Barclay spoke of the connections between the Transforming Our Workplaces strategy and the work that needs to be done with library staff, and the hui endorsed the creation of a Library Staff Occupational Panel to lead the development of a project to enhance the working lives of our members.

Key settlement going out for ratification include Christchurch City Council and Wellington City Council. The Christchurch settlement is the first negotiated since SLGOU merged with the PSA in April 2016. The Wellington settlement is significant as it is the first with the employer since the 90s that provides a single agreement to cover all our non-manager members across the organisation.

PSA speaking out

Seeking your views

The PSA policy team is currently developing a submission on the government’s Draft Health of Older People’s Strategy.  If you would like to contribute views or expertise to this please contact of the PSA’s Policy Team. The PSA Policy Team is also developing a PSA view on social housing.  To contribute or express interest in being involved in this please contact

Recent submissions

We regularly submit to Parliament on changes to legislation affecting PSA members. Recently we’ve submitted on: the Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce and Age Settings Amendment Bill), the Te Ture Whenua Maori Reform Bill, the Inquiry into the Social Workers’ Registration Act 2003, the Local Government Reform (No.2) Amdt Bill, the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill and the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill and the cross party Homelessness Inquiry and the Draft New Zealand Disability Strategy. We’ve also recently participated in the engagement process for the development of New Zealand’s second Open Government Partnership Action Plan.

You can read these submissions on the PSA website.