PSA members strike over wage talks

Public Service Association members held a placard protest in Palmerston North to draw attention to failed salary negotiations with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The MBIE staff members gathered outside the ministry's offices in Rangitikei St yesterday morning and handed out fliers to passersby.

PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said ministry staff had become "increasingly frustrated with their employer's refusal to offer decent wage movement". "After a year, the best pay offer is nothing for those who are entitled to progression through their salary scale and 1 per cent for everyone else."

One worker said a lack of transparency had left her feeling "a bit ripped off". " Who's actually making all the decisions? I'm feeling undervalued here."

MBIE deputy chief executive of corporate services Peter Thomas said the ministry would be happy to return to the bargaining table, but not during industrial action.

"MBIE is currently offering a package which would result in an average increase of 2.1 per cent for PSA members. We believe this offer is fair, affordable and sustainable."

The Labour Party's spokesman on labour, Andrew Little, supported the strike.

"The reality is we need a better wage-setting system for New Zealand and the Government should set the standard when it comes to employment practice."

Manawatu Standard