Justice staff walk out of courts

By The New Lawyer|04 March 2013

Justice ministry staff have walked off the job for a day-long strike over a pay dispute.

JUSTICE ministry staff working in New Zealand'’s courts have walked off the job for a day-long strike over a pay dispute.

About 1,000 staff, who collect fines and work at courts and tribunals across the country, have forced the Ministry of Justice to apologise to court users over any inconvenience the strike causes.

The Ministry claims, however, that it cannot afford the Public Service Association’s (PSA) claim on behalf of court workers, which it said will cost about $113 million over three years. It said it is committed to resolving the dispute.

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PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said that on average, justice workers are paid 6.3 per cent lower than the average public service wage.

The PSA said workers are prepared to look at closing the pay gap in stages to make it more affordable to the Ministry of Justice.

“We’ve invited the Ministry to work with us to reduce their costs by finding ways of working more efficiently, identifying and eliminating wasteful spending and improving productivity.”

“This would offset the cost of closing the pay gap and implementing a fair and transparent pay structure.”

Workers are tired of being paid less than rest of the public service, said Wagstaff.

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“And they’re sick and tired of the Ministry‘s unjust pay system that’s created this pay gap.”

Most court registry officers are paid between $39,600 and $46,600 a year. Their highest pay rate is $53,600. Most court registry support officers are paid between $29,500 and $35,000.Their highest pay rate is $40,000.

“Justice workers remain determined to address this underpayment and to fix the unjust pay system that’s created this underpayment,” said Wagstaff.

The justice workers want the Ministry to “engage in meaningful negotiations to address their pay problems”, he said.

“Justice workers remain determined to address this underpayment and to fix the unjust pay system that’s created this underpayment.”

The justice workers because taking industrial action in late October. They have taken several strikes since then.

The justice workers’ action to date has shut down court sittings throughout the country and disrupted other justice services.

“The new campaign escalates the industrial action. It includes a complete ban on overtime, rolling strikes of varying lengths and action targeting different areas of work at the Ministry of Justice.”


Justice staff walk out of courts
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