Industrial update: Justice system at risk of creaking to a halt

With no date in place for a return to the bargaining table, PSA members at the Ministry of Justice have voted to continue work-to-rule alongside a new set of bans on work that could see Court operations creak to a virtual halt.

“We are now into the second month of industrial action by PSA members at the Ministry of Justice for fairer pay and conditions, and if anything the situation is continuing to deteriorate,” says Glenn Barclay, PSA national secretary.

“The current stalemate is occurring because the Ministry has made no concrete response whatsoever on bringing an improved pay offer to the table to enable bargaining to resume.

“This is extremely disappointing, and is just adding further to the frustration and anger of our members.

“We will continue to pursue the open discussions needed to reach a settlement before Christmas”.

MOJ 1PSA members have now voted to extend an existing set of work to rule actions that include common breaks during the day and a ban on overtime until Friday 7 December.

New actions that have been introduced for the first time, with immediate effect during the week and that are also being actioned until Friday 7 December include bans on:

  • work involving audio visual links (AVL) – except for matters involving vulnerable witnesses.
  • involvement in any event or hearing involving sentencing – except for matters involving vulnerable victims.
  • all Collection tasks – except for receiving payments and answering queries
  • completing Financial Assessment Hearings and Assessments of Financial Means
  • work outside of a worker’s “home” registry or office

Other bans with high impact are expected to highlight the value of specific occupational groups such as a bailiffs’ ban on entering data on fines and civil matters to a MOJ database.

More work bans are expected to be introduced next week. In addition since the first nationwide strike and rallies on 19 September there have been more than a dozen lightning strikes held at Courts and other MOJ work sites around New Zealand, up to and including a half-day nationwide strike action held this week on Wednesday 7 November.