New CTU Secretary Looks to the Future

New CTU Secretary Looks to the Future

The new CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges was drawn to the union movement when a job as industrial officer and organiser at Equity New Zealand caught her attention.

“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.

Melissa went on to become Equity NZ director and as part of the film industry working group argued  for a collective bargaining system for screen industry contractors.  

The Government agreed to the group’s recommendations last year and legislation has been introduced.

“The structure proposed will create industry standards, minimum pay and conditions, and enable bargaining. It will be a game changer.”


Melissa is also passionate about improving protections for all contractors and welcomes the Government’s current consultation process on the issue.

She says clarity about who should be an employee, and enabling collective bargaining for contractors are crucial.

Melissa praises the PSA for changing its rules to allow contractors to become members.

“It’s fantastic. As unions we have a responsibility for all working people,” she says.

“And if there is nothing protecting contractors it incentivises businesses to hire them. So it’s important for all workers that we protect their conditions too.”


Melissa is also committed to the CTU’s work to achieve pay equity and will be taking a leading role in its election planning.

She says there have been huge gains for workers under a progressive Labour-led Government and it’s important that work continues to ensure more improvements like contractor protections and fair pay agreements become a reality.

The CTU will be releasing election asks this year on issues including industrial reform, health and safety and equality.

Melissa is keen to activate grass roots support through Unions Local and to reach out to members on social media.

 “It’s where our members are so it makes sense for us to be there too.”


Melissa says digital media is also key to reaching the next generation of workers

“We have to make sure the union movement is relevant to people of my age who’ve grown up in an era where unions were less visible as a result of the Employment Contracts Act.

“Young people have shown their appetite for activism. They’ve  taken a lead in protesting against climate change. It’s important to make unions relevant for them because they’re a huge force for change”.

We’ll have more on the work of the CTU in future issues. 

Also in this issue:

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As we mark the anniversary of the Christchurch attacks the PSA has added its voice to a call for peace from the city’s Muslim community.

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The Mana Wahine team was up before dawn on Waitangi Day erecting our stall at the famous Treaty Grounds.

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Opportunities and issues with new bill

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"We have come too far to not go further"

‘Tawhiti rawa i tō tatou haerenga atu te kore haere tonu’ - Sir James Henare

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Maranga Mai

A groundbreaking course is empowering Māori delegates and contributing to a surge in Māori membership across the PSA.

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Pacific organisers speak of challenges and triumphs

Union organisers from the Pacific have spoken about the challenges some face while trying to improve conditions for workers in their countries.

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Climate Talk

Nā Alex Johnston, Oxfam New Zealand campaigns coordinator and PSA EcoNetwork member

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Holiday Home Snaps

Thanks to all our members who entered our PSA Holiday Home Photo Competition over the summer.

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The Marlene Pitman Award

Nominations are now being sought for the Marlene Pitman award.

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Radio NZ

In early February, RNZ announced its new music strategy which included a proposal to axe over 18 of our members’ jobs and move the station to AM radio.

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Leading the Way

PSA member Pam Maha had never been fully aware of family violence before she joined the Ministry of Justice twenty years ago.

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On the Job

As the first Pasefika person to become a mental health nurse practitioner, Makoni Havea is determined to make a difference for her community.

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Te Reo o te Tari

Why not try out some of these simple phrases in the workplace?

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President's Message March 2020

He waka eke noa – We are all in this together

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