News in brief

VACCINATION MORE VITAL THAN EVER

PSA online journal2Vaccinations work best when we all get them and the PSA continues to encourage members to get a Covid-19 vaccination if they have yet to do so.

This is especially important as we move into the summer when we will be travelling to visit family and friends, and take well-deserved holidays.

The public health advice is that vaccines significantly reduce your chance of getting the virus or of passing it on to whānau and others in the community if you do.

Rates of serious illness and hospitalisation are also lower for vaccinated people, so high vaccination rates will ease pressure on our health system.

We are supporting members in workplaces where vaccines are mandated to ensure employers are following fair processes.

Read more about PSA members involved in vaccination efforts and other parts of our Covid response p.8-9. For more information go to www.psa.org.nz/covid-19-vaccine/ .

MEMBER VOICE NEEDED IN WATER REFORMS

The government recently announced it will proceed with its proposed Three Waters reforms, which will move local government functions for stormwater, wastewater and drinking water into four new water services entities. 

We strongly believe a union voice needs to be included as they make final decisions about the reforms so they meet the needs of all people in Aotearoa. 

Members in local government have said the proposed model needs to be modified to improve democratic accountability, provide a simpler and more practical governance structure, and ensure the needs of all communities are better represented within each water entity.  

The government is also taking a longer-term look at local government through its Future for Local Government Review.

Between now and September 2022 an independent panel will be looking at how to create a new system of local governance and democracy that will enable our communities to thrive. 

We’ll be in touch soon to ask your thoughts on the review to inform what we say to the panel. 

LIVING WAGE SUCCESSES

PSA online journal14The PSA and Council of Trade Unions welcome the announcement that some of the lowest paid workers in government are to be paid a minimum of the Living Wage rate of $22.75 per hour.

The government has directed public service departments and agencies to ensure contracts for cleaning, catering and security guards pay at least the Living Wage when they are signed or renewed.

It recognises the important mahi these workers have undertaken during the Covid pandemic.

Members at Hutt City Council also celebrated gaining Living Wage accreditation in November, the third council in New Zealand to do so.

That means workers who repair roads, clean streets, and collect rubbish and recycling will be paid at least the Living Wage.

The Living Wage delivers an hourly rate that pays for the necessities of life and enables working people to participate in their communities.  

PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS

PSA online journal16A housing broker who has spent many long hours helping vulnerable people into homes during Covid outbreaks was among those honoured at the Public Service Day Awards in November.

Poonam Chaudhary from the Ministry of Social Development received the Public Service Commissioner’s Commendation for Frontline Excellence.

Also in November, a range of agencies were recognised for the health and border response to Covid-19 at Te Hāpai Hapori/Spirit of Service Awards. For a full list of winners go to www.publicservice.govt.nz/sosa-2021-winners/

 

SUBSCRIPTION RATE INCREASE REMINDER

The previously postponed inflation-based increase to PSA subscription rates will come into effect on 1 March 2022, reflecting movement in the Consumer Price Index between March 2018 and March 2020.

Originally scheduled for March 2021, this increase was postponed in recognition of the impact of Covid-19 on members’ incomes.

While the inflation-based increase was postponed, subscription rates were changed in March 2021 to reflect a fairer fee restructure that was voted for by members at Congress 2020.

The fees will stay at this level until 1 March 2023, when the second phase of the fee restructure comes into effect.

An increase based on movement in the CPI may also be applied, reflecting the PSA’s trend of regular, small increases, allowing members manageable changes as opposed to irregular and more significant increases.

For more information about the PSA fee restructure head to www.psa.org.nz/feerestructure.

Also in this issue:


President's message

At the beginning of 2021, I doubt anyone imagined we would be in the situation we are in right now in Aotearoa.

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Nothing about us, without us

Members of the PSA Deaf and Disabled network say the new Ministry for Disabled People must employ, represent and consult with people with all disabilities.

Read More

Mourning our Kaumātua

Kua hinga te tōtara i te wao tapu nui a Tāne, te hunga kua mene ki te pō.

Read More

How unions can fight inequality

Unions can help reverse the growing class division in Aotearoa argues economist Max Rashbrooke in his new book.

Read More

Meri Kirihimete me ngā mihi o te tau hou!

Here are some kupu hararei to add to your kōrero over the festive break!

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Kia Toipoto: Closing Gaps

An ambitious new plan aims to close pay gaps for women, Māori, Pacific peoples, and other ethnic groups across the public service and crown entities including DHBs.

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Equal pay delayed is equal pay denied

DHB members went to Parliament in October to push for the speedy resolution of their equal pay claims.

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More ambition on emissions

Last month on the eve of COP26, the government set out its updated international commitments to reduce emissions – which have been heavily criticised for outsourcing our responsibilities.

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Training together online

Every year the PSA educates hundreds of delegates to support members in the workplace, so being able to moving training online during Covid disruptions has been a priority.

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Congratulations!

Thanks to the PSA winners of Public Service Day Awards who have shown outstanding service to their communities in 2021.

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A high trust relationship

The Department of Conservation has been praised for having one of the best industrial relationships in the public service.

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A safe world of work

Imagine a world where all of us, no matter where we work or what we do, are safe from violence and harassment.

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Transforming Health

The government’s reform of our health system is drawing closer.

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Leaving a lasting legacy

Changes to labour laws in Qatar in the leadup to the 2022 FIFA World Cup show how international sporting events can help promote human rights.

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“This medal is ridiculously well-deserved”

A wheelchair has proved no barrier to Dr Gerald Rys continuing a distinguished career in agriculture and science that’s been recognised with a Public Service Medal.

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Leading the way

When Sripriya Somasekhar received the NZ Public Service Medal, her citation declared she “lives and breathes” her commitment to inclusion and diversity.

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“The work is changing day by day”

The last few months have been amongst the toughest of the pandemic for Aotearoa, and our members have continued to go above and beyond to support their communities. Here are a few of your stories.

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