The PSA provides a voice for members beyond the workplace on issues that impact upon the working lives of our members and the services they provide.
The PSA is active in promoting public services and our strategic agenda . We also defend the interests of our members when politicians, and others with an agenda, attack public services.
Worker rights and union rights
The actions of government impact significantly on workers’ rights at work, including union rights. Employment legislation governs such important matters as collective bargaining, the right of union officials to enter the workplace, workers’ rights to take personal grievances, and health and safety at work.
These important rights have been built up over decades of work by the PSA and other unions and we must remain active politically in order to defend what has been achieved and seek improvements. The Department of Labour website contains information on the legislation that affects workers when they are at work, e.g. the Employment Relations Act, the Holidays Act, the Minimum Wage Act, the Wages Protection Act, the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
The PSA seeks to gain influence beyond the workplace through a range of activities. We lobby politicians and officials, work with the media and organise campaigns. We prepare well-researched submissions to select committees, inquiries and other official bodies, meet regularly with those who influence policy and sit on government working parties and project groups. Wherever possible we also work with other unions, employers and other groups with whom we have a shared interest.
The PSA is actively involved in campaigning on a number of issues that are important to the membership as a whole, or to particular sections of the membership. Campaigning is consistent with our purpose and usually involves improving the understanding of the public, politicians and stakeholders about the issue concerned. Current campaigns which the PSA is involved with can be found on the PSA web site.
The PSA regularly gains both local and national media coverage on issues of concern to members. There is a PSA Media Relations Policy
to ensure a co-ordinated and consistent approach to dealing with the media, and to provide guidelines to PSA staff and elected officials.
The PSA Media Advisor co-ordinates media communications and media liaison.All media comment on workplace disputes, matters of PSA policy and operation, and public sector issues must come from or through the Media Advisor, therefore:
- media inquiries directed to staff or elected officials should be referred to the Media Advisor, and
- the Media Advisor must be kept advised of all staff liaison with the media.
By delegation of a National Secretary, the Media Advisor may at times provide direct media comment.
The authorised spokespeople of the PSA are the National Secretaries.
On a case by case basis, the following may be decided:
Spokespeople must brief the Media Advisor after speaking to the media about any issues arising from the contact. This helps to achieve a consistent line and to monitor media coverage.
Representing PSA to government
Any approach on PSA business by any PSA member, staff or elected officials to government ministers, select committees or senior members of political parties (other than in their capacity as local MPs) requires the prior approval of the secretariat.
Any member acting as a delegated representative of the PSA must reflect PSA policy and strategy and unless otherwise agreed, delegated representatives will have no authority to enter into any commitment on behalf of the PSA.