Bargaining is a key means by which the PSA promotes the employment interests of members. The PSA bargains pay and conditions through collective agreements as the best vehicle for improving and protecting members’ interests. The PSA does not generally negotiate pay and conditions for members on individual agreements but, depending on circumstances, will provide advice and support.
The PSA’s strategic approach to unionism is also reflected in its approach to bargaining. Taking a strategic approach in bargaining means recognising that bargaining takes place within a wider context. While bargaining is an important activity, it is only one of many ways in which the parties engage and further develop the relationship in the workplace.
The PSA has whole-of-union Bargaining Priorities and a whole-of-union Bargaining Strategy. Within these priorities and this strategy we have strategies developed for the different sectors of PSA membership.
The relationship between the whole-of-union approach and sector-specific bargaining is shown in the following diagram.
1) The PSA bargaining priorities document defines “What we want”.
2) The PSA Bargaining Strategy defines “What approach(es) we use to get what we want”.
3) The sector-specific strategies apply the PSA bargaining priorities and the PSA bargaining strategy to the particular situations within their sectors. We have the following sector-specific bargaining strategies:
State Sector Bargaining Strategy:
covers the public service, state-owned enterprises and crown entities, other than the District Health Boards (DHBs) and Crown Research Institutes (CRIs);
Health Sector (DHBs) Bargaining Strategy:
covers the District Health Boards (including the NZ Blood Service);
Science Bargaining Strategy:
covers the CRIs;
NGO (Health and Disability) Bargaining Strategy:
covers non-governmental organisations in the health and disability sector;
Local Government Bargaining Strategy:
covers local authorities and other council controlled organizations;
Note: Some enterprises within the coverage of the PSA may not be covered by a sector specific bargaining strategy but the PSA will develop an approach appropriate to their needs.
4) The Policy on the Conduct of Negotiations for Collective Agreement sets out “How we manage negotiations to get what we want”.
The PSA’s approach to bargaining involves acting in good faith, being principled and pursuing an interest based approach to bargaining that moves between problem solving and more positional stances as appropriate (i.e. a blended bargaining approach) This means that bargaining is conducted in a manner that is consistent with the Code of Good Faith developed under the Employment Relations Act and that demonstrates the following additional features.
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