INDEPENDENT NEWS

Public service pay gap unacceptable

Published: Wed 13 Nov 2002 04:39 PM
Public service pay gap unacceptable
The significant pay gaps existing between the public service and the private sector were unacceptable and must be closed, PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.
Referring to a Sate Services Commission survey of public service departments released by State Services Minister Trevor Mallard this week, Richard Wagstaff said it was essential for the New Zealand economy that strenuous efforts be made to redress the imbalances in pay rates for the public service.
“The release of these pay figures confirms the PSA’s worst fears that public servants have been missing out on pay rises, despite putting in the extra time at work, over the past decade.”
“The PSA has been aware of and drawing attention to the widening of the gap for some time. The survey results reinforce our view that the deregulated Employment Contracts Act environment failed public servants. It resulted in more individual agreements, fewer collective union agreements, and less negotiation. This led to a state sector which was fragmented, lacking in capacity and capability, and with low staff morale.”
“The current industrial relations climate, however, lays the foundations for the ‘low pay, low morale’ culture to be turned around. The PSA is working with government on policies which will see a more integrated and cohesive public service with more cross-agency co-ordination and co-operation. This, together with the return to collective bargaining, and employer and union negotiating in good faith, is the key to addressing these concerns.”
Richard Wagstaff said the quality public service which New Zealanders require and deserve demands decent pay. Without it, recruitment and retention of staff issues meant that the service and, ultimately, the New Zealand public, suffers.
“While we accept that it will take time to deal with the inequity, the government must realise that it has to be done and it will cost.”

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