Hard won recognition

Hard won recognition

An interim equal pay agreement for DHB administration and clerical workers is being greeted with a mixture of satisfaction and relief.

The claim was lodged in April 2018 and is now on track for a final settlement in the middle of this year.

“While it has not been a smooth road, we have continued to fight for our admin members,” says national negotiating team delegate Jeanette Wilkinson.

In December members overwhelmingly backed the interim agreement and an interim payment, which will lift the majority of salaries by up to $2,500 a year.

Once the claim is settled more than 8,500 workers from 22 DHBs will be covered by a consistent nationwide pay structure, with further pay increases as people move to the new equal pay rates.


The agreement is hard won recognition for our members, who work tirelessly every day to ensure our hospitals are running smoothly so that you receive the care you need.

They’ve shown equal determination and persistence in pursuing the claim.

In 2019 they presented a 12,800 signature Heart of the Hospital petition to parliament, they’ve made submissions and appearances at select committees, and last year donned pink for Pink Tuesdays to get the claim over the line.


Hutt Valley DHB medical secretary Jill Madgwick says the interim agreement is an “overdue triumph”.

“The constant battle to be recognised as worthy is quite draining. The increase will mean a huge amount for many people.”

ACC administrator Hineuru Tutua-Nathan, who is also from Hutt Valley DHB, says she’s long believed her salary does not fairly reflect the work she does.

 “The interim settlement will make a welcome difference in my income and a stronger sense of acknowledgement for the work I carry out.”




Jeanette Wilkinson

Jeanette Wilkinson has been a medical secretary for Southern DHB for 20 years. She says as a solo parent it’s been very difficult to manage on such low pay.

“Especially when wages were ‘frozen’ for many years, there was no contingency for emergencies. I had to rely upon the kindness of my parents to get me over those times.”

 Jeanette turns 65 next year and has only been able to start saving with Kiwisaver in the last 18 months.

“This will enable me to make bigger contributions so I can possibly retire slightly earlier.”

Hineuru Tutua-Nathan says the final settlement will be “a huge celebration and relief for all of us”.



While the DHB admin claim is nearing a final settlement, the PSA is pursuing other claims across our union. Here’s an update on our progress:

Raised claim:

Probation officers

Assessing claim: including agreeing on bargaining process, comparing roles and pay rates

Local Government library assistants

Public Sector administration workers

NGO Social Service support workers

NGO Social Workers

Allied Health & Technical

Mental Health & Public Health nurses

Settling claim: agreeing on equal pay rates

DHB administration and clerical workers 

Settled claims:

Disability, aged care and home support workers

Oranga Tamariki social workers

Mental health and addiction workers

Vocational disability support workers 


The PSA is seeking to expand the reach of the gender pay principles to help eliminate all forms of discrimination in the public service and beyond.

The principles of freedom from bias and discrimination, transparency and accessibility, the relationship between paid and unpaid work, sustainability, and participation and engagement, help guide the development of gender pay gap action plans in all public service agencies annually.

With the new Public Service Act, we’ll be pushing for the principles to be implemented more widely.

We’re also pushing for them to be applied to all forms of discrimination, including ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.

The action plans for all core public service agencies as well as ACC are now available on agency websites. You can find them at



CMYK Alex Davies Avalon Kent

Alex Davies and Avalon Kent

The PSA is welcoming two new staff members who will help lead our charge for equal pay.

Alex Davies joins the PSA as Pay Equity Lead.

Alex trained as a lawyer and previously worked at NZEI Te Riu Roa, where she was

lead advocate for the pay equity claim for teacher aides, which secured significant pay rises for them. 

Alex’s role at the PSA includes raising pay equity claims, assessing work, selecting and assessing comparators, and negotiating settlements that ensure work primarily done by women is fairly valued.


Avalon Kent is taking a lead on pay equity cases for the PSA legal team.

Avalon worked in the Australian trade union movement, while completing her law degree. She then worked as an industrial lawyer. Most recently she was the legal officer at the NZ Council of Trade Unions. Her interests include pay equity.

The team support our equal pay advocates who promote pay equity in workplaces. Find out how you can become an equal pay advocate at  www.psa.org.nz/media/campaigns/equal-pay/


 Main photo caption: DHB admin delegates Emma Blain-Anderson, Jill Madgwick and Hineuru Tutua-Nathan








Also in this issue:

News in Brief

In our News in Brief, Pasefika representation is being implemented across our union, we announce a new Māori leadership role, and acknowledge the anniversary of the March 15 attacks.

Read More

President's Message

Kia ora e te whānau o Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi

Read More

Nevertheless we're Persisting!

The theme for our Women’s Network Conference in March was to have been ‘Nevertheless She Persisted’.

Read More

"I found it very easy"

A year into the global pandemic, the roll out of vaccinations is being welcomed by many workers on the frontline.

Read More

Saving our Libraries

The PSA has helped defeat a proposal to partially-privatise Wellington library and slash its budget.

Read More

Bridging the Digital Divide

Imagine a world where you can’t just jump online to apply for jobs, access services or communicate with friends or family.

Read More

“It’s not easy opening your hearts up”

The opening hearings in the Waitangi Tribunal’s Mana Wahine Inquiry have heard powerful kōrero about the power, authority and status held by wāhine Māori in pre-colonial Aotearoa.

Read More

“We’ve come a long way”

Ten years on from the February 22 earthquake we reflect on the challenges faced by our members in Canterbury as they helped their community to rebuild.

Read More

Summer Snaps Competition

We’ve had a great response to our PSA Plus Holiday Homes Photo competition with some quality snaps making it hard to choose a winner.

Read More

Fight back in Myanmar

The military coup in Myanmar has deeply shaken hopes for democracy but public servants and unions are fighting back.

Read More

Plea for more sick leave

PSA home support members have told a parliamentary select committee they need more sick leave to keep themselves and their clients safe.

Read More

What do we want from health & disability review?

As we await the Government’s response to the health and disability sector review, we asked our PSA Community Public Services and DHB sector committees what they’re looking for.

Read More

"No fear factor" about disability

The formation of a network for disabled staff at Inland Revenue snowballed out of a desire to move beyond a “one click, one size fits all” mentality.

Read More

Leading the Way

It may say something about Brad Hedger’s commitment to the union that he agreed to speak to Working Life about his role as a PSA delegate just days before his wedding.

Read More

Climate Talk

New Zealand is stealing from the peoples of the Pacific. We are stealing their land, their homes, their water, and in doing so, we are jeopardising their future.

Read More

Challenging the Norm

Working mum Pip Bennett decided to research gender norms after becoming frustrated that everything was being left to her.

Read More

Men raising boys

A new book has inspired PSA member and stay-at home dad Aaron Packard to consider how we can help men to be more hands-on fathers

Read More

#My Mihi challenge

Learning a language is about starting out small and taking that first step.

Read More

Around & About

The Pride March in Auckland features among the events in our PSA picture page for this issue.

Read More

Big Brother Bosses - should you be worried?

Imagine you’re using a computer. Someone else installed software on it, and uses it to track your keystrokes, learn your password and access your personal email account.

Read More