More than 230 Qualifications Authority (NZQA) staff will walk off the job today in protest at a breakdown in pay negotiations.
The Public Service Association, which represents NZQA staff, has been in collective agreement negotiations with NZQA since late last year.
NZQA made an offer which was rejected by members early last month but since then the authority had refused to make a single concession, PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said.
''Staff simply want the right to negotiate pay as part of their collective agreement yet NZQA is denying them that by adopting an entrenched approach to the bargaining process."
"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,'' Mr Wagstaff said.
The NZQA said in a statement that there were "a few issues that remain to be settled" and that the parties were scheduled to meet on March 18 and March 22.
NZQA had arranged for a mediator to assist in the facilitation of the talks.
"We continue to negotiate in good faith towards settlement of a new Collective Agreement," the statement said.
"The PSA are aware of this and it is disappointing that they have chosen to escalate issues at this time".
The union was also advocating for a simpler pay system which delivered a reasonable pay increase to everyone's base salary, he said.
Staff will walk off the job at 2pm for the day.
Earlier this month staff picketed NZQA offices on The Terrace but a union spokeswoman said the continued stall negotiations meant the action had now been escalated.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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