After ten months of bargaining and two strikes, more than 80% of the 2,000 PSA members at Community Corrections have voted to accept the latest pay offer.
"The deal we have struck with Corrections is a big step forward for our members and will put to an end a pay system that was unfair and disadvantaged women, Māori and Pasefika workers," said Josephine O’Connor, Lead Organiser for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
Community Corrections workers manage 30,000 sentences and orders that apply to those sentenced in Court and released from prison, assist thousands who have been returned from Australia under section 501 of its Migration Act and more than 7,000 electronically monitored sentences. The work they perform is relentless, requires specific training and is inherently risky. For years, these staff have also been the lowest paid public servants across the frontline of government services.
Workers will receive pay increases of between 4.7% to 30% depending on time in the role.
The workforce is predominately female and up till now, they have been subject to a performance pay system, where members must prove their "competence" to their managers, to receive minimal pay increases.
"Corrections needs a diverse workforce which is equipped to manage those under its care, but one impact of the pay system members sought to replace, has been that while it should only take a maximum of four years for a probation officer to earn their maximum salary, it has been taking Māori male probation officers an average of 16 years.
"Today we can celebrate change that will go a long way to restoring fairness in the pay system and lift the incomes of many so they can better cope with the pressures on household budgets at this time," said O’Connor.
"We know of members who are raising multiple children and grandchildren, who have remained on the pay step they were hired on years ago. Hundreds of these workers are receiving remediation payments from Corrections, as a token acknowledgement of underpayment. They are also being lifted to the pay step they should have been on.
"We want all our members, new and old to be treated by Corrections as valued public servants, undertaking mahi that deserves fair and transparent pay."
On Friday 26 May, amongst other improvements, members voted to endorse the new Collective Agreement which now provides:
- Remediation payments of between $1100 and $15,000 for almost 500 members, who have been undervalued for years under competency-based pay
- Increases in the first year of the new Collective Agreement of between 4.7% and 14.2%
- Replacement of the competency-based pay model with annual automatic pay progression; meaning that all members will earn their maximum pay within 4 years
- The restoration of access to Professional Supervision
- A new $150,000 PSA member only professional development fund
- 2x $350 Wellness Allowances
- Lump sum payments of $750 and $500
- Improvements to overtime and shift work provisions
- Improved Long Service recognition