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PSA to picket NIWA next Thursday (29 Feb)

PSA members at NIWA have voted to picket outside their workplaces on Thursday 29 February and on Wednesday 6 March in support of their pay claim and closing the growing gender pay gap at the Crown Research Institute.

The picket will see scientists, technicians and support staff at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, including some staff working on research vessels, stop work for an hour on both days.

The picket is a continuation of strike action started in November demanding that NIWA engage with the members’ claims in good faith.

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi has been bargaining with NIWA since August 2023. Since 1 December union members have been disadvantaged by NIWA’s decision to award health insurance to non-members only despite PSA’s acceptance of the policy change.

PSA members are seeking pay increases that reflect inflation and further action on closing the gender pay gap at NIWA, which is growing wider.

The PSA has also taken legal action against NIWA for offering health insurance to non-union members but not to union members. The case filed in the Employment Relations Authority will be the subject of a mediation next week.

PSA National secretary Duane Leo says that members are not taking strike action lightly.

“Our members are frustrated at how little momentum there has been from NIWA to settle and how little has been achieved. NIWA has made one offer in September, and has barely budged since, despite two rounds of mediation. At the same time NIWA is trying to undermine the union’s position by offering non-union members health insurance.

“Our members love their work but they want a two-year deal that gives them certainty about pay rises beyond October 2024, action on the gender pay gap and no changes to their conditions,” Leo says.

Members will be picketing outside NIWA’s worksites at Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Nelson, Bream Bay and Lauder on Thursday 29 February.

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