Union members at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority are walking off the job today, saying the Government department is failing to negotiate fairly in pay talks.
The 230 staff - about 55 per cent of the NZQA work force – have been in collective agreement negotiations since late last year. They will walk out at 2pm for the rest of the day.
A pay offer made by NZQA was rejected by the Public Service Association members last month.
PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said staff wanted the right to negotiate their collective contract but NZQA had been unwilling to make a single concession.
"Negotiating pay is a fundamental part of bargaining and it is astounding that NZQA seems to think it can ignore that by saying it is not prepared to talk about it," he said.
Wagstaff said another sticking point for the members was NZQA's "outdated and complex" pay system.
NZQA chief executive Karen Poutasi said there were few issues remaining to be settled and the authority was due back at the negotiating table with the PSA on Monday and again on March 22.
Poutasi said NZQA was fully committed to the bargaining process and had arranged a mediator to help during talks.
"We continue to negotiate in good faith towards settlement of a new Collective Agreement. The PSA are aware of this and it is disappointing that they have chosen to escalate issues at this time," Poutasi said.