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Industrial action hits courthouse

Industrial action is in full swing at the Masterton Courthouse, as obligatory breaks force the court to vacate.
The court, currently operating under work to rule action, sees the doors shutting between 10.30-10.40am, for an hour from 12.30pm, and again between 3-3.10pm.
The Ministry of Justice announced late last week that planning was underway to deal with the impact of industrial action at New Zealand’s courts and tribunals.
It said the Public Service Association had notified the ministry that work to rule action would begin on Friday November 11, and be in place until Monday December 19.
It warned of disruptions to varying degrees, across the board.
The action sees employees undertaking no more than the bare minimum required by their contract.
Since the announcement signs have been erected at Masterton Courthouse advising the public of closures.
The signs read: “Please note you will be required to leave the building during these breaks.”
The PSA has not made a public statement about why industrial action had been initiated.
However, last month national media reported on pay negotiations with the public sector over the cost of living, a thorny issue since the government introduced a pay freeze in 2020.
In an email to union members, the PSA said five government agencies, including the Ministry of Justice, had voted to take industrial action “because their employer had not offered a pay increase that reflected changes in the cost of living”.
However, it said an agreement had been reached, which would see the action pause for negotiations.
“These members have paused their action to create a window to help all of public service pay adjustment negotiations take place.
“This pause is an opportunity to deliver on the promise of the whole-of-sector pay increase. Members have been patient but the cost of living crisis is urgent.”
Staff at Masterton’s court said that, with the exception of the break times and forced closures, the court was operating as normal.

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