• Posted on: 19/12/2019
  • 2 minutes to read

Bargaining began in August this year, and when voting closed it became clear 97.5% of union members had voted to accept.

The new agreement was achieved without a repeat of nationwide strikes taken by Inland Revenue employees in 2018.

"Our members voted earlier this year to consider industrial action if bargaining did not move forward, and with strike action a real possibility we made significant progress at the bargaining table," says PSA National Secretary Kerry Davies.

"We are proud that thousands of hard working New Zealanders stood together to achieve major improvements to their pay and conditions, and we know it would not have happened without their collective determination to campaign for change."

Inland Revenue will now adopt a step-based pay system, aligning it with the pay systems used by every other major government department.

Rather than staff being individually assessed for a range of different pay rates, a series of clear and transparent steps will be put in place to progress through over time.

Since bargaining began in August, around 700 additional employees of IR have chosen to join the Public Service Association and the union says this surge in additional membership played a decisive role.

IRD employs about 5000 people, and with around 3300 members the PSA represents a clear majority of them.

"This fantastic result is living proof that there is power in numbers. Because of their experiences on the picket line in 2018, IRD workers understood their active involvement could make a difference in bargaining this year," says Ms Davies.

"By adopting a step-based pay system like the rest of the major government departments, IRD has taken a big step forward to help ensure consistent and positive pay and conditions apply to all public sector workers."

IRD union members have called for a new pay system for many years, but after the 2017 strikes the claim was postponed in order to prioritise getting every IRD employee above the Living Wage.

The department and the union have both committed to a separate relationship agreement that aims to provide space for contentious issues to be resolved at an early stage before legal or industrial conflict.

The PSA continues to pursue an existing legal case against IRD challenging its use of workers from the Madison temping agency.

The union argues these staff members are in fact employed by IRD, not Madison, and deserve equal pay and conditions to their colleagues as part of the new collective agreement.