Make it Real

Make it Real

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.


Jo-Anne Stroman,
Oranga Tamariki workplace administrator, PSA member, Porirua

Jo Anne Stroman

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.


Jessi Abrams,
MSD customer service rep, Work and Income Christchurch contact centre, PSA National Delegate Convenor for MSD Contact Centre Services

Jessi Abrams

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. 


Adrienne Dunford,
ERO administration officer, PSA delegate, Napier

Adrienne Dunford Copy

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.

Also in this issue:

‘We thank you for your brave stand’

As forty or so people gathered in the blazing Wairarapa sun, only two had ever joined a protest before in their lives. Within twenty minutes, they were leading their own chants and you could hear them for miles.

Read the full post

“Remember the loss but also remember the hope”

PSA delegate Benjamin Gresham says the Christchurch Invitation is a call to spread peace, reconnect, and feed the hungry - which draws on the teachings of the Muslim tradition.

Read the full post

Leading the charge on contractor rights

The PSA made a change to its rules in 2018 by enabling contractors and labour hire workers to become members.

Read the full post

Mana Wahine Claim goes to Waitangi

The stall gave us an opportunity to kōrero kanohi ki te kanohi with the wider community about the kaupapa of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina’s Waitangi Tribunal claim.

Read the full post

Opportunities and issues with new bill

The PSA welcomes most aspects of the bill - but there are issues it does not address and we drew these to the attention of the select committee.

Read the full post

"We have come too far to not go further"

The Public Service in its current form is failing Māori. This is abundantly clear as Māori are over-represented in all negative social statistics. We need a public service that delivers for Māori.

Read the full post

We Count

More than 30% of lesbian, gay and bisexual public service workers who responded to the State Service Commission’s We Count Survey last year reported being uncomfortable being open or out at work.

Read the full post

The PSA’s greatest victory?

On 29 March 1974 more than 600 uniformed school dental nurses proceeded silently down Wellington’s Lambton Quay. It was, as one observer noted, “almost certainly the largest demonstration of women since the days of the suffragettes”.

Read the full post

Maranga Mai

The guiding purpose of Maranga mai o ngā whakangungu ā rohe is to enable Māori delegates to use their perspective and experience to advocate for Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their workplaces.

Read the full post

Pacific organisers speak of challenges and triumphs

The organisers from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Australia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands were attending the International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific workshop in Nadi in November.

Read the full post

Climate Talk

Tried talking to your Dad about the bushfires in Australia only to discover he’s a climate change denier?

Read the full post

Holiday Home Snaps

The snaps from holiday home stays around the country show just how much fun and relaxation our PSA accommodation has to offer .

Read the full post

The Marlene Pitman Award

This award was originally created in honour of Marlene Pitman, who passed away on 16th January 2010, to recognise her membership and service of 25 years. As an activist at Child Youth and Family, she was convenor of the Social Services sector committee and an executive board member for 2 years, a delegate for 23 years and a hardworking member of Te Komiti o Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

Read the full post

Radio NZ

A groundswell of public and political opposition to that plan soon led to a backdown from the RNZ Board and management.

Read the full post

Book Review: Pay Packets and Stone Walls

At the beginning of her memoir Elizabeth Orr pledges to tell the truth about the fight for pay equity for women, her reasoning being that it has lessons for the future.

Read the full post

New CTU Secretary Looks to the Future

“I had completed a conjoint arts and law degree so the position tapped into my passion for drama and the arts as well as my knowledge of employment law and policy,” the 31 year-old recalls.

Read the full post

Leading the Way

“As a child I thought everyone had a Mum and Dad who cared about them,” says the Ngāti Kahungunu wahine who grew up in a loving whānau environment.

Read the full post

On the Job

“I can help with mental and physical health problems. I want to provide a service where they don’t need to see lots of people.

Read the full post

Te Reo o te Tari

*Good morning.* Mōrena/Ata mārie. *Welcome to (workplace).* Nau mai ki . *Are you busy?* He nui ō mahi? *I am very busy!* He tino nui aku mahi! *No. I am not very busy. Kāo.* Kāore i nui aku mahi. Kei te aha koe? *What are you doing? *Kei te tuhituhi au. *I am writing. *Kei te mahi au.* I am working.*

Read the full post