News in Brief


CTU Forum Rory ERO CopyERO delegate Rory Sudfelt was one of hundreds of union members who turned out for the CTU-Government Forum in Wellington in August.

The gathering at Parliament gave union members the opportunity to take part in free and frank kōrero with senior government ministers and the Prime Minister herself. Topics addressed ranged from how to protect health workers and staff from violence at work, to the rejuvenation of NZ coastal shipping.

A forum in Dunedin in September also covered a range of issues from health staff shortages to the need to raise benefit levels, the cost of living, housing, and the right to strike. A contingent of about 40 PSA members were among the 140 union members who turned out to meet with Jacinda Ardern, ministers Grant Robertson, David Clark, Chris Hipkins,

Iain Lees-Galloway, Green MP Jan Logie and CTU representatives.

Future forums are planned for Auckland on November 26 and Christchurch (TBC)



Access Community Health coordinators, administrators and call centre workers have reached a short term agreement with their employer until April 2020.

About 100 workers from the PSA and E tū took industrial action in May and June as they sought a fairer pay deal.

The workers coordinate home support for more than 21,000 clients. Some highlights of the deal were an improved pay offer, an extra sick day and a one-off payment for union members, and joint management and union delegate meetings.



Delegates in Christchurch are continuing to meet monthly to discuss issues arising for members from the March 15 terror attacks.

Members continue to report feeling extremely fatigued and stressed in the wake of the attacks.

For some who were not directly involved, it has been “a last straw” on top of the stress experienced post-earthquakes.

There are concerns about the effect this could have on staff turnover, as some people have sought to move out of more stressful roles in their organisations.

Some agencies directly involved in the response to the attacks are experiencing ongoing pressure on resources. Members are encouraged to reach out to delegates and organisers if they are under too much pressure.

Some members still report having safety concerns regarding walking home or to their car after dark, particularly in the central city, or being alone in buildings. The delegates are also discussing how they can contribute to wider PSA efforts to stand against racism and in support of a more inclusive Aotearoa.



The PSA welcomes the government’s commitment to education reform, but says there are widespread concerns about job security during such a significant restructure.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced a set of major changes to how polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations operate in New Zealand.

“We want to live in a country where learning is a lifelong process for everyone, with a particular emphasis on supporting workplace training. The government’s reforms appear to share this goal,” says national secretary Kerry Davies.

“Workers in polytechnics and ITOs have a wealth of knowledge to share, and they will commit to engaging with change if their job security is guaranteed.”




The 80s theme night was a hit at this year’s PSAY Hui in Wellington last month. New PSAY convenors were also elected. The national convenors are Megan Barry and Gabriel Paikea. Other convenors are Hine-A-Rangi Savieti (Auckland), Jeremy Tocker and Ben Hoeberechts (North Island), Ulualo Mareko (Wellington), Heidi Becker (Christchurch), and Rhiannon Mclean (South Island).



tewikiEarlier this month Aotearoa celebrated Māori Language Week.

At Working Life we also want to tautoko te reo and Te Maihi Karauna, the Crown’s Māori Language Strategy.

So check out this issue’s Te Reo o Te Tari column, which has tips to kōrero on the waea (phone) pg.27.



PSA Public Sector and DHB Sector Hui were held at Orongomai Marae in Lower Hutt in August.

A Combined Sector Hui is being held in September. We’ll have a wrap-up of the hui and the election of Sector Mangai in the next issue of the journal.



It’s an institution that’s been going strong since 1914 and now we’ve got plans to bring the PSA Journal Working Life into the digital era.

We’re responding to the results of a communications survey earlier this year that found 38% of you would prefer to receive Working Life via email and 25% would prefer to read it online.

We also share your concerns about the environmental impact of too many paper copies being distributed to offices.

So we intend to make more journal stories more easily accessible on our website , on email and on social media, while from next year we’ll gradually reduce the number of copies we print.

That means you’ll be able to get the latest from the PSA on a wider variety of platforms, while still being able to enjoy a leisurely read of the printed journal if you choose.

Watch this space for further updates on our progress.

Also in this issue:

President's Message


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Vote 2019 NZ!

Vote 2019 is your chance to help shape the future of your community, according to PSA Vice-President and Auckland Council delegate Benedict Ferguson.

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Vote for healthy communities

That’s why in 2019 we urge you to vote for DHB candidates who support four priorities which are crucial for our workers in district health boards, and for all of us who may need health services now or in the future:

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Let's Bring This Home

But despite these hard fought victories the income and hours of support workers remain insecure – forcing many to leave the jobs they love.

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Te Ao Tūmatanui: Strengthening the Māori Crown relationship

It includes expectations public service leaders work in partnership with Māori to deliver services that work for Māori, and develop a workforce that reflects the community it serves.

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Ask the Minister

*CH:* People will still work in the departments or agencies they work in now. Over time they might see more alignment of the terms and conditions of similar jobs across the public service because at the moment we know there is variation.

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PSA says reforms a ‘significant step forward’

While the Government’s plan for public service reform does not reverse many of the neo-liberal elements of the State Sector Act it still represents a significant step forward. The reforms will provide better mechanisms to enable cross agency work and help break down silos in government.

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Equal pay for all

Equal Pay BW3 We’re pushing for equal pay across our union with the launch of new claims in recent months.

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Suffrage Day: ‘Our members are worth 100% and shouldn’t have to rattle buckets to get it’

“As a school social worker I’m responsible for more than 600 kids and I earn about the same amount as I did twenty years ago working in a bank.”

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Mind the gap! Taking action on gender pay

Gender Pay BW2 Statistics NZ data shows a 9.3% difference in the median hourly earnings of men and women in 2018 - a significant improvement on the 16.2% difference in 1998, but largely unchanged from 2017.

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