VACCINATION MORE VITAL THAN EVER
Vaccinations 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
The 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
A 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.