Law tweak sparks public servant pay cut fear

Last updated 08:32 27/02/2013

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Public servants fear cuts to their pay and conditions are being slipped through the back door in legislation pitched by the Government as a minor change.

The Public Service Association, the union which represents many of New Zealand's civil servants, said the legislation had significant and far reaching implications, especially around the redundancy rights of tens of thousands of state sector workers.

"That is of particular concern given the current environment of public sector cutbacks and restructurings."

Under the legislation, any state services employee who is made redundant will have their entitlement to redundancy pay restricted if they are offered and accept a job elsewhere in the state sector during their notice period, the PSA says.

It would also allow the Government to issue workforce Policy Orders which the PSA claims could place constraints on the pay and conditions of state sector employees.

There were also concerns the bill would give the Government the ability to put constraints on the pay and conditions of state sector employees through an Order in Council.

Their concerns are detailed in a submission to Parliament's Finance and Expenditure select committee, which meets today.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott said the union would also urge the Government to lift the public service staffing cap.

Over 3000 public service jobs had been cut since 2009 and at June 2012 there were 3263 vacancies, the union said.

"Those factors, along with ongoing Government budget cuts, are putting the public service workforce under immense pressure as it is expected to do more with less."

Others due to present submissions include the Council of Trade Unions, teachers' union the Post Primary Teachers Association and School trustees Association.

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