Gen­der pay gap work­ing group part of of­fer to Jus­tice staff

Hawke's Bay Today - - Nation - Sam Hur­ley

The Gov­ern­ment has reached a set­tle­ment with its strik­ing work­ers and in­cludes a gen­der pay gap work­ing group.

The Pub­lic Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion (PSA) yesterday an­nounced a set­tle­ment of­fer has been agreed be­tween the union and the Min­istry of Jus­tice.

The of­fer will now go to a vote be­fore the PSA’s 2000 mem­bers, which ac­count for about 60 per cent of the min­istry’s to­tal work­force.

“The PSA bar­gain­ing team is sat­is­fied that af­ter two long months of in­dus­trial ac­tion a level of set­tle­ment that our mem­bers de­serve has been reached,” PSA na­tional sec­re­tary Glenn Bar­clay said. “While we ac­cept this has been a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion be­cause of his­toric un­der-re­sourc­ing at the min­istry, the ways in which pay sys­tems were be­ing un­fairly framed and the per­sis­tently low pay on of­fer to our mem­bers was un­ac­cept­able.”

The dead­lock be­tween the min­istry and PSA had ini­tially been bro­ken af­ter a day of Em­ploy­ment Court-or­dered ne­go­ti­a­tions late last month.

Bar­clay said a vote will take place be­fore the end of the work­ing year. “Our mem­bers took ex­tended strike ac­tion as a last re­sort,” Bar­clay con­tin­ued.

“Our mem­bers have acted re­spon­si­bly through­out and have been widely sup­ported from within the courts and other work­places they do so much to keep run­ning, as well as from their fel­low PSA mem­bers across the union and from other unions. I can’t com­mend them enough for their re­silience and sol­i­dar­ity.”

The of­fer in­cludes an across-the­board pay in­crease for July 2018 to June 2020, which equates to four per cent across two years, and a com­mit­ment to a Gen­der Pay Gap Ac­tion Plan Work­ing Group.

An in­jec­tion of more money to rem­edy his­tor­i­cally low pay rates is also part of the deal, the PSA said, while a lump sum pay­ment will cover back pay and wages lost from the strike ac­tion.

There is also a move­ment away from the min­istry’s per­for­mance pay ma­trix, sup­ported by more fund­ing to sup­port tran­si­tion to an agreed step-based pay scale and an­nual pay pro­gres­sion.

The min­istry’s chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Bridg­man said in a state­ment to the Her­ald he was un­able to com­ment on the de­tails of set­tle­ment while the PSA holds rat­i­fi­ca­tion meet­ings.

Dur­ing the in­dus­trial ac­tion, se­cu­rity con­cerns were raised by New Zealand Law So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Kathryn Beck and New Zealand Bar As­so­ci­a­tion (NZBA) vi­cepres­i­dent Jonathan Ea­ton QC af­ter a brawl in a Christchurch court­room.

The Em­ploy­ment Court was also called on to de­ter­mine an in­junc­tion ap­pli­ca­tion by the min­istry to stop the short-no­tice “light­ning strikes“be­cause of safety con­cerns.

The court dis­missed the ap­pli­ca­tion, but Bridg­man main­tained that the light­ning strikes were “un­safe and ir­re­spon­si­ble”.

The PSA’s in­dus­trial ac­tion in­cluded work bans and a re­fusal to serve, check and sign le­gal doc­u­ments — lead­ing to a log­jam of ad­journed cases at the coun­try’s busiest courts.

PHOTO / FILE

The Min­istry of Jus­tice’s of­fer comes af­ter about two months of in­dus­trial ac­tion.

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