INDEPENDENT NEWS

Education Ministry Taken To Employment Relations Authority Over Spending Cuts

Published: Tue 4 Jun 2024 03:48 PM
The PSA has today filed legal proceedings against the Ministry of Education in the Employment Relations Authority in relation to job losses forced by the Government’s spending cuts.
The Ministry is not complying with the collective agreement requirement that it must do everything it can to find other roles for staff it is laying off said Duane Leo, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
"This is not an action we have taken lightly and comes after we attended mediation on Thursday which ended with no commitment from the Ministry to comply with the collective agreement.
"We have asked the Authority to urgently deal with this matter as the livelihoods of hundreds of dedicated public servants are being disrupted by this rushed restructure forced on the Ministry by the Government’s spending cuts."
A total of 755 roles are proposed to be disestablished. This covers people working in regional offices, the Curriculum Centre, central services, those who work directly with the education sector and in support of the wider education sector workforce.
"There are relevant clear principles in the collective agreement including a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the principles of Kotahitanga, Rangatiratanga, Whanaungatanga, Kaitiakitanga, Manaakitanga, Whakahiato Umanga and Whakamana," said Duane Leo.
"The collective agreement requires the Ministry and the PSA to try and agree the outcomes of cost cutting exercises and then present that view to the management of the Ministry. This has not been complied with. This is very similar to the clause in the TVNZ and PSA/E tū collective agreement - E tū last week succeeded in its claim at the ERA, forcing TVNZ to consult again with impacted workers.
"We are also seeking compliance with the provisions in the collective agreement that require the Ministry to make every attempt to redeploy affected employees, on a case-by-case basis, including committing to retraining where possible.
"This provides for a humane and dignified approach that considers the individual circumstances of each worker.
"Yet the Minister is already talking about hiring contractors to do some of the work that could be done by impacted workers. That’s not right.
"The scale of the restructuring is not an excuse for the Ministry to opt out of its commitments in the collective agreement. We have reminded the Ministry that the Government has been clear with the PSA and with the Ministry that any changes made across the public sector must be done consistent with collective agreements."

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