Statistics New Zealand and the PSA agree to reconvene bargaining using a new approach

We are pleased to announce that Statistics New Zealand and the PSA have agreed to return to the bargaining table.

As you know, over the last few months Statistics New Zealand and the PSA have been in protracted negotiations for a new Collective Agreement.  To date we have been unable to resolve our outstanding differences despite ongoing discussions, the use of mediation services and a campaign of industrial action by the union.  We are both very conscious that this has created undesirable tension in the workplace.

As leaders of Statistics New Zealand and the PSA we are seeking a breakthrough so that this dispute can be resolved. We have come to the mutual conclusion that the process we have been using to date has not been conducive to generating new and innovative options.  We are in complete agreement that we need to find better ways of negotiating, discussing and reaching a settlement that is satisfactory to us both – Statistics New Zealand and PSA members. 

As a result we have jointly made a commitment to adopt an independently facilitated “interest-based problem solving approach”.  Both of our bargaining teams will be trained in the use of this approach prior to resuming our discussions. We very hopeful that this approach will allow us to settle the Collective Agreement in a way that meets our respective and collective interests.  We are also of the view that the skills and understandings we develop through using this approach will stand us in good stead as we look to work together more collaboratively in the future to support the goals of the organisation.

Our teams will reconvene on the 1 December 2014 for five consecutive days - two days of training followed by three days of bargaining. 

As a demonstration of good faith, the PSA have agreed to suspend industrial action and return to full and normal duties from tomorrow. Statistics New Zealand has likewise agreed to suspend all contingency activities as a sign of good faith from the same date.

While data collected by PSA members during the action is still being withheld for now, our objective is to resolve this dispute and enable all data to be processed.

 As leaders of the organisations we are heavily invested in finding a way forward and will make ourselves personally available to assist in the process as and when necessary. 

We are absolutely committed to finding mutually acceptable solutions to the issues confronting our organisations and it is our expectation that we will be in a position to announce real progress toward reaching an agreement in the near future. 

A signed joint agreement can be found here.

Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician

Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary