"Where’s the Justice?" Ministry staff ponder strike action as talks fail

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Nearly 2000 PSA members at the Ministry of Justice are voting on strike action later this month, in an attempt to get a fair deal for low-paid and female workers.

Ministry staff are balloting for a two-hour stoppage on Wednesday 19 September, after efforts to negotiate a new pay deal have stalled.

"Our members at Justice work hard to keep the court system going," PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

"Many of them are women, and they do crucial jobs such as Court Registry Officers, Court Reporters, Victim Advisors and Family Court Co-ordinators.

"They deserve to be properly valued for the work they do in making sure the justice system runs smoothly and fairly."

The average female employee at Justice is paid 15% less than the average male - more than the average public sector department gender pay gap of 12%.

The Government requires all public service employers to end the gender pay imbalance by 2020.

"The PSA believes the Ministry does not properly value some female-dominated roles - and our efforts to strike a deal to reduce this pay gap and have staff properly valued have so far come to nothing," Ms Polaczuk says.

"These are not highly-paid workers: last year, Justice had the third-lowest average salary in the public sector, and we believe they are slipping back even further.

"Strike action is always a last resort, but our members feel like they have no other alternative.

"The PSA remains ready and willing to negotiate in order to correct this unfairness."