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Tararua Council workers on strike

Tararua District Council [TDC] workers who are members of the Public Service Association [PSA] are going on strike today and tomorrow.

New Zealand’s largest trade union, the PSA represents 80,000 workers across local councils, central government, state-owned enterprises, health boards, and community groups, including members in Dannevirke, Eketāhuna, Pahiatua, and Woodville.

TDC PSA members will stop work from 1pm to 5pm today and strike all day tomorrow.

The action also involves members all taking their breaks at the same time and not working extra hours or overtime until Friday October 13.

“We’ve been in bargaining since November 2022, working to achieve an acceptable deal,” PSA organiser Dolly Larkins said.

“Our members are part of this community and see the value of the work they do – they want to keep working.”

According to the union, the impact of high staff turnover has left members grappling with vacant jobs, while pay for long-term staff in particular is inadequate as the cost of living continues to increase.

“The council doesn’t recognise the effect this has on the wellbeing of our members,” Larkins said.

“They’re having to work so much harder while their pay goes backwards, falling further and further behind the cost of living increases.”

Members have been encouraged to engage in volunteering for the community while they are taking strike action.

TDC chief executive Bryan Nicholson told the Times-Age that although the council is disappointed by the strike action, it remains committed to concluding the collective bargaining.

“We highly value our staff and have provided above-cost-of-living increases in the past two years,” Nicholson said.

“The council needs to be fiscally prudent and our recent 13.17 per cent rates increase reflects rising costs, a challenge we take seriously.

“Staff turnover, although concerning, is expected in the current economic environment and is being felt widely across the sector.

“We continue to be committed to creating a supportive work environment for long-term retention.

“Council expects around 25 PSA members will be striking and only foresees minimal disruption to council services to the public.”

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