News : Pay Talks to Start for Call Staff
Jan 30, 2014 -- Negotiations aimed at resolving a performance-pay dispute at the NZ Transport Agency's Palmerston North call centre will start within two weeks.
In December, about 100 Palmerston North staff from the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union-represented transport agency national call centre in Ferguson St walked out of their offices and into The Square.
The two-hour protest was fuelled by an across-the-board no-change pay offer, with pay rises going only to those considered to have performed effectively throughout the year.
The NZ Transport Agency told the Manawatu Standard at the time that it, as a publicly funded organisation, had an obligation to encourage staff to strive for excellent performance, and the pay rises it had offered amounted to a 2 per cent average increase in wage per staff member.
Since the protest, the EMPU's condemnation of the agency's offer has been backed up the Public Service Association, which represents NZ Transport Agency staff nationally.
The PSA said in December it would follow call-centre workers into industrial action for the first time unless there was negotiation, and the EPMU warned that further walkouts at the call centre could occur at any time. An agreement to negotiate appears to have happened, but there has been little movement from either the union or the agency since Christmas.
Agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt said yesterday that a round of bargaining would begin with the EPMU on February 10, and with the PSA on February 19.
No negotiations had taken place this year so far, he said.
An EMPU spokeswoman said there was "nothing to report" but there could be movement during February.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About New Zealand Transport Agency:
The NZ Transport Agency is a New Zealand Crown entity tasked with promoting safe and functional transport by land, including the responsibility for driver and vehicle licensing and investigating rail accidents. It was created on 1 August 2008 by the Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008, merging Transit New Zealand with Land Transport New Zealand. Its legal name, as established by the Act, is New Zealand Transport Agency, but it operates as NZ Transport Agency. Its Māori name, Waka Kotahi, means "one vessel" and is intended to convey the concept of "travelling together as one".
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014