Thousands of admin workers in the Public Service are asking to be paid what they’re worth with the launch of their pay equity claim.
Their work often goes unnoticed - but they’re the ones that keep organisations running smoothly, the ones you turn to when things go wrong, the ones that are first to greet the public.
Oranga Tamariki workplace administrator, PSA member, Porirua
I support caregiver social workers. I do systems checks on caregiver applications, police vetting, background investigating. If I see something needs flagging I will bring it to their attention.
I’m the first port of call for inquiries so I need to be knowledgeable. I host morning teas for caregivers. I’m a ‘counsellor’ to other staff when they come to me with their woes.
You need a level of maturity and I have years of experience working for MSD and CYF previously. But that does not show in my pay packet. I thought about taking a second job at one stage.
I love being an admin but I haven’t been able to save much so I fear I’ll have a tough retirement.
MSD customer service rep, Work and Income Christchurch contact centre, PSA National Delegate Convenor for MSD Contact Centre Services
I answer phone calls from clients. They are living from benefit to benefit. They can be stressed, upset, angry. They want help right away.
It’s challenging if you have a queue of four or five hundred people but you want them to feel they are being heard. It’s rewarding if you can help them and their whānau.
You need to know everything about policy, services we offer and where to refer people, and technical skills to work the system. But you also need soft skills, you need empathy.
It’s a female dominated industry as most call centres are and that affects pay rates.
ERO administration officer, PSA delegate, Napier
I support review officers and ensure their reports on schools and early learning services are processed on time and to the highest standard.
There’s a lot of multitasking and problem solving. I process reports, help ensure travel and accommodation is booked, organise fleet car maintenance, help with IT issues, maintain databases, and liaise with the public.
All these little things add up and make the review officers’ jobs easier. Without admin staff, organisations would lose productivity.
Before I took time out to raise a family, I worked as a defence force payroll administration clerk for 10 years. This was never reflected in my salary. Lack of recognition for previous experience is a common problem for admin workers.
PSA members and local communities joined forces in February to protest restructuring that threatened hundreds of jobs and quality client care.
While the restructuring by HealthCare NZ is now set to go ahead the protests have thrown a spotlight on issues besetting the home care and support sector.
Union organisers from the Pacific have spoken about the challenges some face while trying to improve conditions for workers in their countries.