Pacific organisers speak of challenges and triumphs

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.

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.


In countries like Fiji organising workers can be dangerous.  We had the pleasure of having Fiji Trades Union Congress national secretary Felix Anthony and union advocate Kuini Luata join the workshop. 

Felix was arrested on May Day in 2019 for his union activity.  The environment our comrades work and live in, in Fiji contrasts with how we can organise in New Zealand.

While the government in Fiji is supposed to work with employers and unions in a tri-partite arrangement, delegates from Fiji believe unions are excluded from discussions which have an impact on workers. 

The most recent example of this was family care leave and parental leave. This was clearly a worker’s issue but the unions were kept out of the discussions and announcements were made for it to be implemented from January last year.  The unions believe this was a big sweetener for the working class to vote in favour of the current government. 


But the workshop also celebrated some achievements.  The raising of the minimum wage in Samoa is a big success for the likes of Samoa First. They should be congratulated for that work and the support they received from First Union.

I attended the conference as the NZ CTU Komiti Pasefika representative. My presentation focussed on the PSA’s work to close the gender pay gap in the public service.  As part of this we want Pasefika public service workers to be free from gender biased inequalities so they can achieve their full potential, regardless of gender AND ethnicity.


The wins include pay principles developed by PSA Pasefika from a Pacific lens, building structures with Pacific National Delegates in the Department of Internal Affairs, MBIE and Oranga Tamariki, engagement in workplace action plans and inclusive and diversity plans, and closing the gender pay gap in 2020. I also spoke about our Government’s goal of closing the gender and ethnic pay gaps.  

Other participants presented examples of the work they do to enhance the lives of Pacific workers.  This includes negotiating to improve pay, conditions and leave provisions, and building union density in the private and public sectors.

Kia manuia

Also in this issue:

‘We thank you for your brave stand’

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.

Read More

“Remember the loss but also remember the hope”

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.

Read More

Leading the charge on contractor rights

Our union is leading the charge to strengthen rights for contractors and labour hire workers in public and community services.

Read More

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.

Read More

Mana Wahine Claim goes to Waitangi

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

Read More

Opportunities and issues with new bill

We’ve been making our voices heard on the new Public Service Legislation Bill with submissions from the PSA, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina, network and delegate committees and individual members.

Read More

"We have come too far to not go further"

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

Read More

We Count

The results of a survey of rainbow public servants suggest a significant proportion still don’t feel comfortable being out in their workplaces.

Read More

The PSA’s greatest victory?

Former PSA staffer Noel O’Hare explains why he wrote Tooth & Veil, a history of school dental nurses and the day they stormed the corridors of power.

Read More

Maranga Mai

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

Read More

Climate Talk

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

Read More

Holiday Home Snaps

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

Read More

The Marlene Pitman Award

Nominations are now being sought for the Marlene Pitman award.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Te Reo o te Tari

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

Read More

President's Message March 2020

He waka eke noa – We are all in this together

Read More