PSA to closely monitor Auckland Council voluntary pay cut proposal

Auckland Council staff earning over $100,000 a year have been asked to take voluntary pay cuts of between 5% and 10%, as part of a process the Public Service Association says it will monitor closely.

The union for council workers says it never welcomes any step backward in pay and conditions, and intends to continue meeting regularly with Auckland Council to discuss their financial situation and any further proposed responses to it.

"We understand this pandemic has put Auckland Council in a difficult position, as it has many other employers," says PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay.

"PSA members care strongly about serving our communities and maintaining essential services, that’s a top priority whether in good times or bad. We want to figure out strategies to move forward which minimise the impact on communities and employees who can’t afford cutbacks."

Only a small percentage of Auckland Council staff earn over $100,000 a year, and these are highly experienced and skilled workers in specialised roles.

The union believes the best strategy is one that negatively impacts the least amount of staff possible and preserves job security.

"Those earning in the top brackets of $100,000 a year or more can make their own decision about whether they wish to take voluntary pay cuts during this crisis," says Mr Barclay.

"We strongly oppose any pressure to take a pay cut being put on workers earning well below that amount, whether it comes from on high or from colleagues. Auckland is an expensive city to live in, and council staff have bills to pay like everyone else."

The Council committed to pay full wages to all employees during lockdown, whether or not they were able to work.

"We are pleased Auckland Council did not attempt to impose unilateral changes to employment terms and conditions on staff, but these are hard and uncertain times and many staff will be feeling anxious," says Mr Barclay.

"Whatever comes next, the Public Service Association will continue to advocate strongly for our members to be supported, valued and listened to. No decisions should be made without involving council workers."