PSA Operating Manual

Preface to this Manual

This Operating Manual is intended primarily for delegates and other elected officials within the PSA, although members and staff might also find it useful. It has been developed to provide a single place where delegates and others can find out about how the PSA and its representative structures operate, what is expected of them and what support they can expect.

Rule 6(3) of the PSA Rules says that the secretariat of the union may publish a manual to 'provide guidance on the application of the rules and the regulations and on any other matter relevant to the effective operation of the representative structures of the PSA'. Accordingly this manual brings together not only the Rules and the Regulations of the PSA but also the policies, procedures and practices that delegates and other elected officials need to know about.

1. PSA Overview

The PSA is a democratic union

Unions are about workers coming together collectively to deal with their issues at work, in their industry and in wider society.

The right of workers (and employers) to form and join organisations of their own choosing is an integral part of a free and open society. It is a right that is enshrined in both national and international law. The Employment Relations Act 2000 provides the right for employees to join or form a union, recognises the role of unions in promoting their members' collective employment interests, confers on them the right to bargaining collectively on their members’ behalf, provides them with the right of reasonable access to an employer’s premises, while requiring them to register and demonstrate their accountability to their members.

This is all consistent with the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). For example, convention 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise makes it clear that not only do workers have the right to associate in unions but that unions can set their own rules, without government interference but conforming to the laws of the land.

Unions are usually organised around identifiable industries and/or occupations. The PSA is a public sector union made up of many different occupational groups.
 

made up of many different occupational groups. The PSA is the largest union in New Zealand and the largest in the public sector. We have members working in the public service, the health sector, the crown research institutes and other crown entities, in non-governmental organisations delivering disability support, mental health and other services, and in local government (see also: Brief historical background).

The purpose of the PSA

The purpose of the PSA is to build a union that is able to influence the industrial, economic, political and social environment in order to advance the interests of PSA members.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi

The PSA affirms Te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The PSA is committed to advancing the Treaty principles of partnership, protection and participation in activities pursuant to the purpose and objects of the union as they relate to the working lives of members.

The Objects of the Union

In summary: The objects of the union are to build a democratic union organisation that represents, supports, promotes and advances the interests of PSA members and encourages full and active participation in the union.

The Powers of the PSA

These include powers to manage its financial investments, subscriptions, membership, staffing, union structures and affiliations as necessary to pursue its objectives, with the proviso that the union not affiliate with or financially contribute to a political party or organisation currently, or aiming to be, in government.

It shall, however, be free in the pursuit of its objectives to express opinions or take other action in respect of any act or omission of governments, organisations or persons, and to express its opinion on any issue or topic.

Strategy

The PSA’s purpose is to build union organisation able to influence the social, political, economic and industrial environment to advance the interests of PSA members.

The strategy employed to achieve that goal is known as Partnership for Quality - PSA members (through their union) working in partnership with employers and government to create the best possible public services for New Zealanders.

This strategy - a means rather than a goal in itself - focuses on organising workers collectively around a broad agenda.In simple terms: the PSA seeks to work with employers to ‘make it work’ and to deliver quality services and products through quality jobs and employment and quality management practice. We seek to build on our shared interests with employers while recognising that we also have different interests that may lead to conflict from time to time. (For more information, see What it means to be a member.)

The PSA's strategic agenda: Democracy at Work

Democracy at Work is the PSA’s strategic agenda and the outcome of extensive research and discussions with members around the country. It is our aspiration for the future of public services in New Zealand and recognises that:

 This agenda reinforces the public sector ethos: one of trust, integrity and commitment to service and to the central claims of citizens in the design and delivery of publicly-funded and democratically-authorised services.

The PSA’s Democracy at Work agenda has three interwoven strands.

2. Membership

Select one of the sections below for more information about membership:

Who can be a member

In broad terms, anyone in New Zealand who is employed in the public sector or in delivering public services (including working overseas for a New Zealand public agency) is eligible to become a member of the PSA provided that they qualify as set out below. (Note: The Executive Board may from time to time approve eligibility for membership for workers employed or engaged to be employed in other agencies or industries.

Potential members include workers employed or engaged to be employed in the following agencies or industries

 

Categories of membership

1) Full members.

2) Honorary life members

3) Associate members

4) Student members

Benefits, entitlements and responsibilities of membership

Thebenefits and entitlements of PSA membership include

In return, members have a responsibility under the rules to

In addition there is a responsibility, central to unionism, to work together for the common good.

 

Joining the PSA

People wishing to join the PSA should complete a PSA Membership Form which is available from delegates, organisers, PSA offices and on the PSA website. The authority to deduct subscriptions will normally be passed to the payroll. An applicant for membership does not become a financial member of the PSA until payment is received.

Members shall pay all subscriptions from the date of joining, or the next full pay period subsequent to joining, until they cease to be members.

Subscriptions and how they are set

One of the powers of the PSA is to fix and levy subscriptions from time to time, and to charge for the provision of services.

PSA membership subscriptions are set by the Executive Board and are based on annual salaries before tax.

The rates from 1 March 2009 are:

For members earning subscription
(per fortnight)
under $17,000 $3.70
between $16,000 and $34,000 $7.40
over $34,000 $14.80

Subscriptions are normally paid by deduction from salary but may be payable by direct debit, cheque or cash or some other form of payment that is acceptable to the executive board.

Members on parental leave or special leave without pay are not required to pay subscription. Both continue to be full members of the union but members on special leave without pay are not entitled to exercise voting rights during the period of leave. To maintain membership while not paying subscriptions, members in these categories must not be in arrears and must provide the PSA with evidence of the leave and the date of expected return to work.

Members are entitled to reimbursement for any overpayment of subscription, provided that they can provide documentary evidence of the overpayment. The maximum period for which the PSA remains liable is twelve months.

The PSA reserves the right to recover arrears of subscriptions and levies by legal process.

Ceasing to be a member

A member may cease her/his membership of the PSA by either resigning, being expelled or (most commonly) letting their membership lapse by becoming unfinancial (see the end of this section for a summary of what the rules say about these options).

Often members let their membership lapse because they have changed jobs. Be sure to let us know when this happens as there are a number of options open to you:

The benefits and conditions of associate and student membership are set out above.

Associate membership is also available to those who have left the PSA because they have retired.

If you have resigned from the PSA because you unhappy with something the union has done, it is important that you talk to us about it. Try raising your issue with your delegate or organiser or, if you don’t feel you can do this, you can always lodge a formal complaint with the PSA.

According to the rules, membership of the PSA ceases at the point of:

(a) Resignation - to resign, a member must give at least two (2) weeks notice in writing to the secretariat;

(b) Becoming unfinancial -i.e. subscriptions are more than ninety days in arrears. (Exceptions and conditions apply for members on parental leave, special leave without pay, or where all or part of the payable subscription is waived according to any policy agreed by the Executive Board.)

(c) Expulsion - a member may face expulsion if found to knowingly act in a manner contrary to the rules or policies of the PSA, or to have wilfully assaulted an officer, elected representative of the PSA, delegate, member of the PSA or employee of the PSA.

All subscriptions due to the PSA at the cessation of membership must be paid immediately.

3. What it means to be a member

This section sets out in more detail the benefits, rights and responsibilities of membership.

It looks at our values of collectivity and partnership and how we can deliver to members through collective bargaining and individual representation. It makes clear the PSA commitment to a bigger picture than just the workplace and also the benefits available to members through PSA Plus.

(a) A collective approach to representation

The fundamental value underpinning the union is that together – collectively – members have more power and influence than they do individually. Without collective organisation an inherent power imbalance exists between employer and employee.

Collectivism means more than just a collection of individuals merely banding together to express their individual wills. It is the PSA’s strongly held conviction that ‘the collective whole is more than the sum of the parts’.

That is: by working together members can increase their power and influence. We believe that groups of people working together through good collective processes enable more dynamic thinking and action.

Because collectivism is the basis for the union to achieve any influence, it is also the basis of the union’s culture and practice.

Collectivism involves discipline, commitment and democracy. Thus it is about responsibilities as well as rights and benefits.

(b) Gaining influence in the workplace

The PSA seeks a constructive relationship with employers whereby both parties can advance their respective interests – whether shared or separate – using the Partnership for Quality strategy. The central role of delegates in this work is explained here

The following “dual axis” diagram shows how the Partnership for Quality strategy balances priorities and achieves results simultaneously on the two fronts of Building union organisation and Engagement.

The Dual Axis

Building union organisation

To maximize our effectiveness, the PSA needs to build union organisation. The horizontal axis relates to the first part of the union objective ‘to build union organisation’ which aims to:

Increase union membership density
– to have the vast majority of eligible employees as members of the union, that is, 80–100 percent of staff as members of the PSA.

Elect delegates
Delegates are the key to union organisation. A good ratio of delegates to members ensures good representation; a working principle is to have one delegate to twenty members but this ratio is indicative only and delegate representation should always be appropriate to the workplace.
Delegates need to be supported by members in their workplaces, and they need to be trained and to work as a team with other delegates

Have good union workplace structures
This means
- regular meetings of members, and
- good communication systems, i.e. efficient journal distribution, a PSA noticeboard, email contact and union newsletters, as well as regular meetings of delegates, and regular contact with PSA staff.

Operate democratically as a union
Members need to be involved in the union and have their say. The election of leaders (delegates) takes place regularly through members meetings.

Engagement

The PSA uses its partnership approach to gain greater influence for members in the workplace. We seek to engage constructively with the employer, where we can, to advance members’ interests and improve services.

The vertical axis relates to the union objective of using Partnership for Quality when engaging with the employer to address issues in the workplace. Engagement needs to be regular and at all levels of an organisation (i.e. with immediate managers and team leaders through to senior managers and the chief executive) to build:

Leadership
= delegates providing a leading role in the workplace meeting with managers and ascertaining the collective views of members and representing them.

Participation
= involvement by PSA representatives in working parties, committees, forums and other workplace initiatives.

Agenda
= ensuring that matters of strategic and practical importance to union members are put forward proactively by union representatives; that union representatives clearly respond with members’ views on matters raised by management.

Structure and process
= an agreed arrangement that allows for union representatives to meet and hold regular and structured dialogue with managers, and operating with agreed ground rules.

 

Role of the organiser

Organisers are a vital and integral part of the PSA team. Their role is to organise members into an effective collective in order to gain maximum influence for the good of all members through the union. In this, their main task is to support delegates in building union organisation and engaging with the employer. While organisers will from time to time deal with issues where these are beyond the expertise of delegates (e.g. working with individual members who have particularly difficult problems in the workplace) they are focussed on building the systems, and providing the knowledge that assist delegates in raising, advancing and resolving issues as a collective organisation.

Their role includes:

SEE APPENDIX: Organiser Job Description

See also The organising function.

 

 

(c) Bargaining

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.

Bargaining priorities and strategies

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.

In essence:

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 approach to bargaining

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.

Click on the links to see more information about bargaining:

 

How the PSA manages the conduct of negotiations

Policy on the Conduct of Negotiations for Collective Agreement

The PSA plans and co-ordinates bargaining to ensure consistency across the union. It is a disciplined approach intended to ensure the best outcome from bargaining and protection of members’ pay and conditions.

The secretariat (and assistant secretaries) exercises a degree of co-ordination and control of the entire bargaining process to ensure consistency with the priorities and strategy.

Negotiating teams are accountable for achieving the best possible outcome for the members they represent and to the wider PSA for any precedent value in their settlement. Negotiating teams are composed of members (usually delegates) who, in any given situation, best reflect the range of members represented and who between them have the skills suited to the task of bargaining. Negotiating teams also contain a PSA staff member acting as an advocate who leads both the content and process of bargaining.

Negotiating teams are guided by a bargaining brief established to set up a framework for bargaining in that enterprise, including objectives for bargaining. They also negotiate a bargaining process agreement with the employer to govern the relationship between the parties during bargaining.

Members covered by a collective agreement get to approve the bargaining brief and to decide by vote whether or not to ratify the agreement once bargaining has concluded.

 

The Bargaining Process agreement

The Bargaining Process agreement

The PSA model Bargaining Process Agreement serves as the basis for all bargaining process agreements.

Communicating the Process of Bargaining

Members, enterprise-based democratic structures, and the Assistant Secretaries are kept informed on progress in negotiations.

Authorities - The authority to decide to go to mediation, or to recommend industrial action,lies with the full negotiating team and the Assistant Secretary in consultation with the enterprise based democratic structure.

The union’s negotiating team has authority to bargain to the point of achieving a proposed collective agreement, and must then refer any proposed collective agreement to the Secretariat/Assistant Secretary and enterprise-based democratic structure for consideration.

Authority to settle - This lies with the Assistant secretary/Secretariat after conference with the negotiating team and the enterprise based democratic structure.

Ratification

Ratification is the process of voting by members to endorse or reject a proposed collective agreement settlement. Ratification is normally on the basis of 50%+1 of the votes cast in a democratic ballot being in favour of accepting the proposed collective agreement (a higher threshold may be agreed by the members).

The process for ratification is endorsed by a ballot of members held prior to the commencement of negotiations. 

Signing.

A collective agreement may be signed only after it has been ratified by members.

Bargaining Fee

Guidelines for the Use of the Bargaining Fee by the PSA – Te Pukenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

Under the Employment Relations Act, bargaining fees payable to unions by non-union members in a workplace may be bargained into collective agreements.

A bargaining fee does not come into force unless agreed by the employer and the union and then endorsed in a secret ballot (conducted jointly by the employer and union) of employees who perform work within the coverage clause of the collective agreement, whether they are members of the union or not.

If individuals choose not to pay, the benefits of the collective agreement will not apply.The PSA considers the bargaining fee to be a tool to assist the bargaining process. It should only be utilised where more positive and collective approaches, such as union-only provisions, are not considered enough to ensure a positive outcome from the bargaining process, and the circumstances are appropriate. The decision on whether to utilise the bargaining fee lies with the secretariat.

(d) Individual representation and legal services

How the PSA represents individual members

Joining the PSA gives individual members access to the collective benefits of union membership. In addition individual members have access to help if things go wrong for them at work or they are subject to unfair treatment.

This help is available through the following.

The PSA legal policy

PSA Legal Strategy: Policy and Procedures.
The PSA is committed to representing the legal interests of its members. Full membership represents an authority to represent, but not an obligation for the union to act as representative in all matters relating to the member’s employment, including where individual members have problems at work.
Where members have problems at work, the PSA’s aim is to achieve settlement without recourse to the provisions of the Employment Relations Act. However the law provides a framework within which the parties to a dispute or grievance can work to resolve the problems that have generated the dispute or grievance.
 
Note: The taking of any case is subject to the member taking the advice of the PSA and not authorising any other legal advocate. If, at the point of joining the union, a member has a problem requiring the active support of the PSA, the union is not obliged to take the case.
It is PSA policy to:

Professional Protection

The PSA does not provide professional indemnity insurance cover but may provide legal and support services for members who are the subject of investigations or prosecution by professional bodies such as registering authorities under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act 2003, or investigatory bodies such as the Health and Disability Commissioner. The services are offered according to the following guidelines:

 

(e) Gaining influence beyond the workplace

The PSA is a political organisation

The PSA is a political organisation. By this we do not mean that we are party political. Rule 7(2) of the PSA rules makes it clear that the union cannot affiliate with or make any donation to a political party. However, we are inevitably involved in the politics of the workplace and, given that our members are mostly employed by public sector organisations or in the delivery of public services, we need to engage with the government, political parties and other organisations involved in the political process in order to advance our members’ interests.
 
The PSA is committed to the promotion of quality public services and to worker and union rights. We will seek to gain influence with government, political parties and others, both between elections and during elections to promote our views on these issues. During elections we will promote PSA policy to the political parties and inform members about which parties’ policies best align with ours. This is an important contribution to the democratic process and essential if we are to be effective on members’ behalf.

Promoting quality public services

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 advocates for quality public services and for those who deliver them in often difficult circumstances. Given the high levels of media interest in how public money is spent, and how well public services perform, the PSA and its members are often in the news.
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.

PSA activities and campaigns

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.
 
PSA members may become involved in some of these activities, usually through campaigns or by being asked to represent the union on a working group (the PSA has expectations of how these representatives will work.
 
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.

PSA and the media

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:
  • matters where it is appropriate for the PSA President to be the spokesperson
     
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.

(f) Being informed

The PSA keeps members informed about issues that effect them through a variety of publications:

(g) Other benefits of Membership – PSA Plus

PSA members have access to a number of valuable services and products through our collective purchasing power. These include

 

(h) Complaints policy

The PSA complaints policy deals with any situation in which a member has a concern about the PSA that they want considered for formal investigation.

If they have such a concern they may formally complain to the union. A decision to formally investigate any complaint is made by either the Secretariat (in the case of a complaint about a PSA staff member or delegate) or the President (in the case of a complaint about a member of the secretariat). The process encourages resolution at the earliest possible opportunity and at the lowest possible level .

This means a member should start by contacting the relevant staff member.The organising centre can provide guidance on the name and contact details of the person responsible for the member to contact. If efforts to resolve the issue early do not succeed the member may ask for formal investigation in writing or e-mail. If a complaint is about a PSA staff member or delegate – the complainant should contact the secretariat.

If a complaint is about the PSA secretariat – the complainant should contact the PSA president. If a complaint is about PSA policy or a decision of the Executive Board, the complainant should contact either the President or Secretariat who will determine where the complaint should be forwarded to. PSA members can expect that their complaints will be dealt with promptly and fairly.

4 Membership voice - the PSA structure

Select one of the sections below for more information about the PSA structure.

(a) Being heard within the PSA

The PSA has democratic structures that enable members to have a say in the decisions that affect them at work and in shaping PSA policy through our wider governance structures. This section sets out the democratic structures of the union, both at the workplace level and at the level of the governance of the union .

structures

Workplace and enterprise level structures are based around delegates elected by members, delegate committees and annual members’ meetings. These structures connect to the governance level structures that shape the policy of the PSA – Sector Committees, the Executive Board and the National Delegates Congress.

At both workplace/enterprise level and governance level within the union, Māori members are represented through the structures of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

(b) Structures in the workplace

This section outlines the structures of the PSA that enable the members’ voice to be heard within
their workplace and enterprise.

Delegates

Delegates are full members of the union elected to represent members within a workplace or an enterprise. Delegates are the building blocks of the union.

The role of the delegate

The role of the delegate is to act as a democratic leader and represent PSA members in the workplace. Relationship building is key to the role of a delegate – with members, fellow delegates and with management. The PSA cannot function without good organisation in the workplace, that is sufficient numbers of members, active participation of members in the PSA, good delegate networks, and good engagement with management – as outlined in the earlier section on gaining influence in the workplace. It is delegates who facilitate both organisation and engagement. The kind of tasks expected of a delegate are outlined in the Delegate Job Description.

As a delegate you will need certain skills, knowledge and attributes, such as leadership, relationship skills and a basic knowledge of employee rights. Some delegates will have these competencies already but many will not and will acquire them during their tenure in the role. The PSA provides training and other forms of Support for delegates to help new delegates adjust and experienced delegates to keep up to date. Your experience in the role and the competencies you develop as a delegate can have wider application, and many find them useful in their employment career.

Delegate rights

Part four of the Employment Relations Act specifies that a union is an organisation that operates at arms’ length from any employer and can represent members in relation to any matter involving their collective interests as employees. A delegate is a full member of the union elected to represent members in the workplace. It follows from this that the union has the right to elect its own representatives and that the employer must recognise them as the representative of members, provided they can demonstrate that they have authorisation from members. Employers often do not require evidence of formal authorisation but it is good practice for delegates representing an individual on any matter to complete the standard PSA Authorisation Form.

The Employment Relations Act also provides union representatives with the right to access workplaces. While this is mainly applicable to organisers, it also enables delegates to access other workplaces on the union’s behalf – usually workplaces under the same employer.

The State Services Commission guidance on the Code of Integrity and Conduct for the state sector makes it clear that those employed by the government are entitled to belong to unions and are free to engage in union activities and social campaigns and express views on behalf of the union. However, delegates and others who have access to information acquired in the course of their work must be careful not to use that information for the benefit of the PSA.

These legal rights are important but most of the rights delegates can exercise will come from agreements negotiated with the employer, which should ensure there is no ambiguity over what rights PSA delegates have. These should be included in the collective agreement but may be included in other agreements, such as partnership agreements between the PSA and the employer.

The PSA seeks to negotiate union rights, and facilities provisions that recognise the delegate role and enables them to fulfil their role. Such an agreement is central to the PSA gaining influence in the workplace and should meet the public sector standard.

Deciding on the numbers of delegates

The numbers of delegates in each enterprise, and theconstituencies they represent, is decided by the enterprise delegate committee.

In identifying the constituencies and number of delegates in an enterprise, the enterprise delegate committee should ensure that:

(a) every workplace has representation (this does not require there to be a delegate in every workplace);

(b) the needs of groups who might work across more than one workplace, such as occupational groups or managers, are accommodated;

(c) they consider the relative numbers of members in each constituency.

As a guide, the PSA suggests a ratio of one delegate to twenty members.

The committee also needs to take into account any agreement with the employer whereby a certain number of delegate positions are funded for time release, travel or any other type of support. The PSA is not obliged to provide funding to support delegates in these ways when the number decided upon exceeds anything agreed with the employer.

Support for delegates

The PSA works to support delegates by:

Election of delegates

Enterprise Delegate Committees


Every enterprise should have an enterprise delegate committee that is chaired by a Convenor and is accountable to members in that enterprise and subject to the rules, regulations and policies of the PSA. Enterprise delegate committees may be called by other titles appropriate to the enterprise – for example, several organisations with national scope may use the term National Delegates Committee.

There may be circumstances in which having an enterprise delegate committee is not considered practicable or necessary, for reason such as the size of the enterprise or the level of union membership. The secretariat makes this decision.

The overriding principle concerning the structure of the delegate committee is that it should be appropriate for the enterprise concerned.

Members’ Meetings

Select one of the sections below for more information about members meetings.

Annual members’ meetings (AMM)

The PSA holds an annual meeting of members in every* workplace, which all members of the PSA in that workplace are eligible to attend. *(except where it is considered impracticable or inappropriate and the secretariat has granted an exemption).

Annual members’ meetings are held each year within the 3 months from 31 March.

Responsibility for organising the Annual Members’ Meeting rests with the enterprise delegate committee, supported in this by organisers.

Other meetings

In addition to annual members meetings, delegate committees may call meetings of members from time to time within workplaces or enterprises to:

(a) facilitate union organisation within the enterprise or workplace;

(b) hear any issue or consider any resolution proposed by members.

Any member has a right to attend any meeting of members in an enterprise or workplace in which they are employed - unless the meeting is to consider the content or ratification of a collective agreement that will not cover the member.

Rūnanga structures in workplaces and Māori enterprise delegates

Māori hold a unique place in New Zealand society as tāngata whenua (indigenous people) with a special status conferred by the nation’s founding document, Te Tiriti ō Waitangi. Te Tiriti ō Waitangi is recognised by the PSA (Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi) through Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina– the national body representing the interests of Māori members.

All PSA members who identify as Māori are part of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

In recognition of this, the PSA has created the position of Māori enterprise delegate in each enterprise, who may be supported by a rūnanga structure in larger organisations.

Every enterprise delegate committee must provide a position for a Māori enterprise delegate (see Māori Enterprise Delegate Guide)to sit as a member on the enterprise delegate committee, where one is elected. This means that the role is created, even though it may not be filled. In other words, it is up to Māori within that enterprise to decide whether there is a Māori enterprise delegate.

The rules state that the role of the Māori enterprise delegate is to represent the interests of Māori members within the enterprise and to provide a point of connection with the wider representative structures within Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

The election of a Māori enterprise delegate should be conducted at the same time as election for other delegates, if at all possible, and may be conducted in an alternative manner, if necessary. Voting is open to members within an enterprise who have identified as Māori on their membership form. More guidance on the role and election of a Māori enterprise delegate can be found in the Māori Enterprise Delegate Guide.

Structures may be established to represent Māori members within an enterprise at levels below the enterprise delegate committee. This will usually be in large enterprises where the general delegate structures exist across several workplaces and/or regions. The structures should allow for rūnanga delegates at all appropriate points in order to reflect the general delegate structures. These are known as rūnanga delegate structures, although they may have a name appropriate to the enterprise. Delegates elected within these structures are know as rūnanga delegates. Rūnanga delegates are workplace delegates with a primary focus on the representation of Māori members on Māori issues in the workplace, who ultimately get to vote for a Māori enterprise delegate.

This means that, for example, where there are regional delegate structures in a large public service department there can be Māori delegates, elected by Māori members, at a local level (perhaps in each workplace) who would between them elect a Māori regional delegate to the regional committee. The Māori regional delegates would elect one of their number to the National Delegate Committee.

For more information on the rūnanga delegate structures and rūnanga delegates, refer to the Māori Enterprise Delegate Guide.

Election process (summary)

The following process must be applied in the election of delegates within the PSA.

1.) A returning officer is appointed by the enterprise delegate committee to oversee the election process, including the secret ballot is declared elected.

2.) A date is set for the election and nominations called for allowing adequate time for all potential candidates to be notified (generally not less than ten working days) and a gap of not less than 5 working days between the closing date for nominations and the elections, so those entitled to vote are made aware of the candidates. For general delegates, the election date will usually be the date of the annual members’ meetings, although this may not be the case for the election of Māori enterprise delegates and others where the election at an AMM is not possible.

3.) Nominations from the floor of the meeting can only be accepted if no nominations have been received in advance. Where the election is not being held at a meeting and no nominations have been received at the closing date for nominations, nominations should be reopened.

4.) Names of nominees are circulated to those entitled to vote, prior to the meeting.

5.) Candidates are declared elected in the following circumstances
(i) where there is only one nominee, or where there are the same number of candidates as there are places, he/she/they are declared elected at the meeting (or at the closing date for nominations if the election is not being held at a meeting);
(ii) where there is more than one nominee the successful candidate in a secret ballot is declared elected.

 

 

 

Health and safety representatives

A health and safety representative is an employee who has been elected to represent the views of employees on health and safety issues in the workplace in accordance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

They may not necessarily be PSA members although the PSA encourages members to stand for the position, expects that delegates will develop and maintain strong links with them and has a network of health and safety representatives.

The representative is required to:

The Health and Safety in Employment Act applies to every workplace, employee and employer. The Act is based on principles of partnership and consultation.

An Employee Participation system is negotiated between union and employer (a requirement for employers with more than 30 employees).

Free training for elected representatives is provided by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU).
It is the responsibility of the elected health and safety representatives and management, working together, to identify all hazards and then to manage them (i.e. eliminate, isolate or minimise the danger the hazard represents).

Delegates work with elected heath and safety representatives to enhance the health and safety of members in the workplace. To this end, delegates will

Other workplace roles

The PSA is developing other roles for people who want to be involved in different aspects of union activity. We currently have the roles below but others may be developed in the future:

(c) Governance structures of the PSA

The PSA is governed by:


(a) A National Delegates’ Congress or Special Delegates’ Congress. This is the highest decision-making authority of the PSA;

(b) An Annual General meeting (AGM) that provides constitutional oversight between congresses;

(c)An Executive Board accountable to the national delegates congress and responsible for the governance of the PSA between national delegates congresses;

(d) Sector committees responsible for representing the interests of members within their sectors in the governance of the union;

(e) Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina representing the concerns and interests of Māori members;

(f) Workplaces and enterprises where members may elect delegate(s), a delegate committee or representatives to sector committees;

(g) A staff group representing the interests of staff who are members of the PSA

(h)Committees:(the national delegates congress, executive board, the committee of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina and sector committees may establish committees with a specified role and accountability).

The PSA also operates Networks and Clusters.

Responsibility of elected office holders

When fulfilling their duties, elected office holders within the PSA’s governance structures have a responsibility to consider the interests of all members who come within the coverage of the body to which they have been elected.

Sector committees

“Sector committee” means a committee of members within a sector established in accordance with the PSA Rules.

Sectors are central to the PSA’s democratic structure. They provide the connection between members in enterprises and the executive board.

Members are grouped intofive sectors, each with its own sector committee which has responsibilities to the executive board.

The five sector committees encompass the following sectors and organisations:

Sector hui

A sector hui (or regional and national hui in the case of the health sector) is held by each sector at least biennially, to: Delegates to sector hui are drawn from Māori enterprise delegates and other Māori members in the sector. Sector committee members and officers of the union are entitled to attend and others may attend at the invitation of the sector rūnanga (subject to numbers and other practical arrangements).

National Delegates’ Congress

The national delegates’ congress is a body representing all categories of membership of the PSA. It acts as the highest constitutional authority of the PSA and sets the overall policy direction of the PSA.

The effect of every decision made at the national delegates’ congress is to bind every officer, member of the executive board and member of the PSA affected by that decision.

Because of the important policy-making role of the National Delegates’ Congress there is a timetable to be followed (Rule 55 in the PSA Rules), which ensures that any business for Congress (including nominations for president and any notices of motion) is circulated to members well in advance.This allows amendments to be proposed and circulated so that delegates to Congress can be mandated in advance. It is not possible to amend notices of motion from the floor.

Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina

Te Rūnanga o ngā Toa Awhina - He Reo Mō ngā Mema Māori.

Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina is the national body representing the interests of Māori members.

All PSA members who identify as Māori are members of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina

The structures for Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina sit alongside the general structures and are set out in Diagram (Representative Structures of the PSA).

The workplace/enterprise structures for Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina are set out in Rūnanga structures in workplaces and Māori enterprise delegates.

At the governance level the structures of Te Rūnanga are organised according to the same sectors as the general structures (Hauora, Taiao, Hapori, Anga a-roto, Ratonga Pāpori, Whakahaerenga). These sector rūnanga consist of all Māori in the sector. Each sector holds a Sector hui (or regional and national hui in the case of the health sector), which appoints a Committee of the Sector Rūnanga.

Sector Rūnanga

“Sector rūnanga” means a grouping of Māori members within a sector established in accordance with the Rules.

Committee of the Sector Rūnanga

The committee of the Sector Rūnanga consists of the three representatives appointed at the sector hui. All three members of the Committee of the Sector Rūnanga are authorised members of the Committee of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina and the sector committee, provided that only two at any one time can attend a meeting of those two bodies.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is the managing committee of the PSA, with responsibility to oversee the effective operation and maintain the collective integrity of the union.

The Role of the Executive Board

is to:

Membership of the Executive Board

The members of the Executive Board are:

The Executive Board meets at least five times a year.

The election of the Executive Board

Each sector convenor, rūnanga convenor and staff group representative may

The decision about when to elect the convenor is to be made by the sector committee and the Committee of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina. This means that existing Board members can stay on as Board members until such time as their committees decide to vote on the convenor according to their own timeframes.

National Delegates’ Congress, Annual General Meeting, and Special Delegates’ Congress

Select one of the sections below for more information about National Delegates' Congress.

Annual General meeting (AGM)

The purpose of the annual general meeting is to provide constitutional oversight of the PSA between national delegates’ congresses in accordance with the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. (The executive board sets policy in between national delegates’ congresses.) The annual general meeting will:

Annual general meetings are held in years in which no national delegates’ congress is taking place.

Special Delegates’ Congress

A special delegates’ congress may be called to decide on any issue that arises outside of the schedule of a national delegates’ congress, which the executive board deems to require the consideration of the members of the PSA.

A special delegates’ congress may be called by the secretariat at a time and place to be decided by the executive board, within thirty days of the executive board receiving a written application for a special delegates’ congress.

The application must state the business to be transacted at the special delegates’ congress and be either:

(a) signed by a majority of members of the executive board; or

(b) accompanied by a petition of not less than fifty financial members in support of the application.

All rules applicable to a national delegates’ congress apply (with any necessary modifications) to a special delegates’ congress.

Who attends?

Because of the greater authority of the national and special delegates’ congresses, more delegates from the sectors and Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina attend these than attend the AGM.

The representatives to the national delegates’ congress, the Annual General Meeting and any special delegates’ congress are:

(a) the executive board of the PSA;

(b) Sector representatives.

(c) an additional representative of the staff group.

In addition conveners of Networks may attend as observers with speaking rights, but no voting rights (unless they are also selected as Sector representatives.

Any financial member of the PSA is entitled to attend the national delegates congress, AGM and special delegates congress as an observer.

An observer may speak with the permission of the convenor subject to such conditions (for instance, as to subject matter or duration of speaking time) as the convenor may rule, but has no vote.

Convenor of the Committee of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina

The Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina convenor is a member of the PSA elected by the Committee of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina at a time of their choosing. The convenor is endorsed every two years at Te Rūnanga Taumata and has the following functions: The convenor of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina may attend, as appropriate, any sector hui or meeting of a sector rūnanga or sector committee.

Officers of the PSA

The president is the head of the PSA.

In the absence of the president, the vice president has all presidential powers until the president is able to resume his/her duties.

The convenor of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina is the representative of Māori members within the PSA

The treasurer oversees the maintenance of the PSA’s financial records.

The secretariat is the collective of national secretaries appointed under the rules to be responsible for the operational activities of the union. The secretariat are officers of the union and members of the executive board, as well as employers of the staff and managers of the operational arm of the union.

President

The president is a member of the PSA nominated by a sector committee or the Committee of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina and elected by the national delegates’ congress.

The president is elected every two years, with the right of re-election for a further two years, and may stand for such office again after a break of two years. The functions of the president are:

Vice President

The vice president is selected from the sector convenors or Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina representative to the executive board.


The vice president is elected every two years at the first executive board meeting following the national delegates congress, with the right of re-election for a further two years, and may stand for such office again after a break of two years.

Treasurer

The treasurer is selected from the sector convenors or Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina representative to the executive board. The treasurer is elected every two years at the first executive board meeting following the national delegates congress, with the right of re-election for a further two years and may stand for such office again after a break of two years. The functions of the treasurer are: · to oversee the maintenance of the financial records of the PSA, and · to present the annual accounts, audit and annual budget of the union, and any other proposals of a financial nature to the annual general meeting and national delegates congress.

Kuia and Kaumatua

The PSA Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi recognises Kuia and Kaumatua with experience in tikanga Māori and tikanga union to provide advice and counsel to the PSA leadership and Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina identify Kuia and Kaumatua for this role.

The recognition of Kuia and Kaumatua is by a consensus decision of the executive board, including the convenor of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

Representative expenses policy

Details and forms

PSA policy recognises that delegates and representatives who incur reasonable, additional costs in attending meetings are entitled to be fully reimbursed for those costs to ensure they are not out-of-pocket while working on approved union business. On the other hand, this reimbursement is not a recognition of service to the union, and does not normally apply to delegates' activities in the workplace.

The secretariat is responsible and accountable for prudent stewardship of members funds and administratively requires staff to follow basic accounting procedures.

Reimbursement of expenses may cover

- Airport to meeting venue / Meeting venue to airport (provide receipts if using shuttle or taxi services; taxi chits can usually be supplied)
- Local meetings
- Private transport

Claiming reimbursement of expenses

In summary, a claim for reimbursement requires documentation as follows:

Amount claimed Documentation required
up to $10 no receipt but provide evidence of expenditure if available
$10 and up to $50 evidence of expenditure
$50 and over a full GST invoice

Settlement of claims: claims are processed by the finance unit in Wellington.Delegates attending meetings in Wellington can, if required, obtain a cash settlement for modest amounts.For larger claims including salary reimbursements, settlement will usually be made within two days by direct credit to a nominated bank account or by cheque.

Sector committee responsibilities

o on strategic and policy issues o on industrial activities within sector.

Election of sector committee representatives

Sector committee representatives are elected for a two year term. Sector committees are elected within the period 1 April to 30 September in the year following a national delegates’ congress. This enables enterprise elections to be conducted by 30 June. Once those are completed within the sector then organisation of the sector committee elections can begin. This involves:

Sector committee procedures

Each sector committee has the power to establish its own procedures, subject to the approval of the executive board and the provisions of the PSA Rules and The Regulations of the New Zealand Public Service Association. The proceduresdeal with such details as: Sector procedures must comply with the rules and regulations and, when deciding whether or not to approve these procedures, the executive board will consider the extent to which they enhance the democracy of the PSA and communication with members, and the transparency with which the business of the sectors is conducted. The procedures for each sector committee are listed in Schedule A in The Regulations of the New Zealand Public Service Association, but are currently under revision. New sector procedures will be in place by June 2011 at the latest.

Support for sector committees

Sector committees are supported by sector committee organising administrators (see The organising function) who organise travel arrangements and other administrative requirements. Sector committee organisers are organisers assigned to the sector committee to provide executive officer services to the committee. They work with the sector convenor to manage the agenda and follow up on decisions.

(d) Representing the diverse membership of the PSA

Although not a part of the formal governance structures, the PSA operates networks and clusters, according to Rules 72-77.

Networks

Networks are groupings of members with common interests that can cut across the sectors. Networks may be either formal or informal.

Out@PSA

Out@PSA is an email network for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members. It offers an initial point of contact for members seeking guidance around issues in their workplace and provides a forum for sharing information and ideas

Formal networks

PSAY - PSA Youth

PSAY is a newly-established network for PSA members under 35 years of age that aims to build union organisation amongst young workers and strengthen the union's focus on issues for younger workers.

PSA Pasefika

PSA Pasefika is a network to encourage the involvement of Pacific Island peoples in union activities and decisions. Members of PSA Pasefika are active in the CTU Komiti Pasefika.

Women’s Network

http://www.psa.org.nz[TBA] i.e. Women’s network, once network is established The rules provide for a women’s network to: promote the interests of women within the PSA; facilitate the sharing of information and experiences; and encourage and support women's participation in the representative structures at all levels.

The PSA is taking steps to establish a women's network, which should be up and running by the end of 2009.

Informal networks

PSA Ethics Network

The PSA has established an ethics network to develop and promote a members’ perspective on issues of public sector ethics. Ethics are at the heart of public sector professionalism and to be vigilantly safeguarded.

Health and safety representatives’ network

The PSA maintains a database of health and safety representatives who are also PSA members. This is mainly used to provide health and safety representatives with information and resources.

Activists’ networks

The PSA operates networks for the sustainability contacts and ‘Working for You’ campaign activists. These work in a similar way to the Health and safety representatives’ network.

Clusters

Clusters are groupings of members employed by agencies or enterprises that work in broadly the same area of business, with common interests that relate to that area of business and may cut across sectors. They can meet on either a project specific basis or an ongoing basis.

Board approval is required for ongoing clusters.

We have 4 formal clusters at the moment:

There are no plans for any more clusters at the moment.

(e) Decision making at PSA meetings

Decision making at any meeting within the PSA’s governance and workplace structures is by  consensus (where possible) but a vote may be held

Where a vote is required on a matter, it is decided by a majority of votes cast
by those entitled to vote and voting.

All motions or amendments submitted to an authorised meeting of members must be supported by a mover and seconder.

5. Management of the PSA

Select one of the sections below for more information about management of the PSA.

The management/governance split

The purpose of the representative or governance structures of the PSA is to provide a mechanism by which the membership of the union is able to exercise democratic control over the strategic direction and policies of the union and maintain oversight of its operations.

Responsibility for the management of the operations of the PSA lies with the secretariat. It is not the role of any of the governance structures (e.g. the executive board, the National Delegates Congress) to make operational decisions. However, the secretariat is responsible to the executive board for how the operations of the PSA are managed.

The executive board is the employer of the secretariat, and the secretariat employs the rest of the staff of the PSA. The board are able to use this role as employer to oversee the operational arm of the PSA by appointing the secretariat and managing their performance.

The board also receives regular reports on operational matters of importance and is able to offer guidance and advice to the secretariat where appropriate.

The role of the secretariat

The secretariat is the collective of national secretaries appointed in terms of these rules and is responsible for the operational activities of the union and is the employer of the staff of the union.

The current members of the secretariat are Brenda Pilott and Richard Wagstaff.

While accountable to the executive board, the national secretaries are also members of the executive board and have voting rights.

In fulfilling their role the secretariat must (among other things):

The secretariat is also responsible for calling and attending meetings of the executive board, national delegates’ congress, special delegates’ congresses and annual general meetings and be responsible for the taking of minutes.

The organising function

Organisers are the single largest group of employees of the PSA and their work is central to our success.

The Role of the organiser is to organise members into an effective collective whereby members can wield maximum influence for the good of all members through the union. Organisers also support individual members and have a range of other responsibilities as outlined elsewhere in this manual.

Organisers are located in Local Organising Teams (LOTs) around the country and come together in other groupings as required for their sectors (e.g. health and local government) or enterprises (e.g. National Organising Groups (NOGs) for large public service departments).

The delegate development team (see Delegates) operate as part of the organising function within the PSA. The team consists of union educators who train delegates in order that they can better perform their role. There is close liaison between organisers and the delegate development team.

Organising and development team administration support is provided by organising administrators (OAs) who are full members of the local organising team.The administration role is a key part of organising work. Some OAs provide administrative support for different elected structures by supporting the participation of delegates in sector committees and in Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina by planning and assisting with leave, travel and accommodation arrangements.Others ensure delegates participate in delegate development by maintaining the appropriate monitoring and follow-up systems.

The organising centre provides telephone and on-line support for organising and delegate development. They provide the first point of contact with the PSA for most members, providing them with information and advice and putting them in touch with that part of the PSA’s operations that can best meet their needs. Beyond this the organising centre can support individuals with employment problems and support campaigns and other union activities.

Organisers, the delegate development team and the organising centre, are responsible to four assistant secretaries, who in turn report to the secretariat. They assign organiser responsibilities and manage the various teams. They facilitate planning, allocation and re-allocation of resources between teams and resolve competing priorities.

The Strategy and Support Teams

There are a number of other teams that provide advice and support to the secretariat and the organising function of the PSA, which are collectively known as the strategy and support teams. These teams report directly to the secretariat.

The membership team

Maintains the PSA membership records and system.

The team handles membership applications, manages membership queries with employer payrolls, updates the records, and provides reports on membership to organisers and the secretariat.

The information technology team

This team is responsible for providing advice on the IT strategy of the PSA and the design, build and maintenance of the PSA’s information technology system.

The team also provides support and training for staff in how to best utilise the technology available, plus an information management and advice function.

The legal team

This team is responsible for providing legal assistance in the resolution of employment problems for members, including personal cases and matters concerned with collective bargaining and disputes. This involves representing members and the PSA in a range of legal forums.

The team also provides advice to the PSA on other legal matters that may be within its scope of expertise.

The policy team

This team provides policy, research and advisory services, to the secretariat primarily, but also to organisers as required. The team assists in the generation of new ideas and approaches and contributes to the strategic development of the PSA.

The policy team supports the secretariat in the maintenance of key external relationships and represents the union in a range of political forums.

The communications team

This team is responsible for the delivery of effective and accessible communications with members, delegates, staff and external organisations in a variety of media.

The team maintains the website and electronic communications, publishes the PSA Journal and manages the PSA’s relationship with the news media.

The finance team

This team is responsible for the operation of the union’s financial management system, including asset and resource management, payroll and accounts. The union’s asset base is significant and includes its buildings, the holiday homes, and the vehicle fleet.

The finance team works closely with the PSA plus team.

The PSA plus team

This team is responsible for the development and delivery of non-industrial benefits to members.

This includes the management of bookings for the PSA Holiday Homes and ensuring the maintenance of those homes.

6. PSA affiliation to, and representation on, external bodies

Select from the sections below for more information on PSA affiliations.

6(a) Affiliations

The PSA has the power to affiliate to or join organisations that support the achievement of the purpose and the objects of the PSA. The PSA is currently affiliated to the following organisations:

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

The PSA is a committed affiliate of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) and participates in CTU national and local forums and programmes.

CTU website: The PSA is represented at various committees, governing bodies and interest groups within the CTU including:

Public Services International

The PSA is a member of Public Services International (PSI), a global union federation made up of more than 600 public sector unions. PSA House is the headquarters for the PSI Oceania sub-regional secretary.

The PSA participates in PSI regional and sub-regional meetings and is particularly active in supporting the development of union organisation in Pacific nations such as the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga. PSI website.

Union Network International

The PSA affiliated to Union Network International (UNI) in 2006. UNI is a global federation representing unions in the mass media, entertainment and the arts.

One of its functions is sharing information between unions in the face of globalised media and broadcasting industries. UNI website.

Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ)

The PSA is a corporate member of IPANZ, a voluntary organisation committed to improving public policy and public sector administration and management. IPANZ website.

Allied Health Professional Associations' Forum

The PSA is an associate member of AHPAF, the Allied Health Professional Associations' Forum.

This is a forum for representatives of allied health professional associations to work together on issues of common interest.

Sustainable Business Network

The PSA has joined the Sustainable Business Network, a not-for-profit organisation that supports organisations to become environmentally and economically sustainable.

 

 

 

6(b) Expectations of PSA Representatives on External Bodies

[1]Delegates, network representatives, sector representatives, members of the Committee of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina, Executive Board members and staff members may from time to time represent the PSA on various bodies related to the affiliations above. They may also represent the PSA on government, employer or other stakeholder working groups, project teams, etc. that may be involved in work relevant to the PSA’s membership.

When delegates and staff members of the PSA represent the PSA on any external body there is an expectation that they will represent the views of the PSA, rather than their personal views, and that they remain accountable back to the PSA. This expectation means that:

(i) We will ensure that PSA representatives are appointed by the appropriate body or person in each case (e.g. appointment as PSA representative to the main CTU structures is a matter for the executive board).

(ii) We will develop a view to represent in such forums by:

a. wherever possible identifying priorities for promotion prior to the representative attending the forum;

b. asking representatives to check with the appropriate person(s) in the PSA (the secretariat in the case of the main CTU representative structures) when agendas come out to ascertain whether there is a PSA view that they should be advancing;

c. providing representatives with an induction pack including a statement of expectations, any other relevant background material (such as the structure of the CTU), and any relevant PSA policy.

(iii) We will require accountability back on what happens in such forums by:

a. establishing to whom representatives are accountable in each case;

b. asking for a report back to the appropriate representative group/structure within the PSA after each meeting, or to the members through the PSA Journal, Noticeboard, sector newsletter, as appropriate.


[1] based on board paper – PSA Participation in CTU Forums and Representative Structures (August 2008)

APPENDIX

Select from the sections below for more information from the appendices.

Brief historical background

The PSA’s proud history

In 1890, 400 public servants met in Wellington to form an association to promote the ‘welfare of the service’.

This first group didn’t survive in a political climate marked by deep distrust of any kind of organised labour. However, by 1913 public servants were willing to try again, and together they created the New Zealand Public Service Association. Today, with more than 58,000 members, the PSA is New Zealand’s largest union, making a significant positive contribution for members.

The PSA has represented members through two world wars, a major depression, the development of social services, the establishment of full political rights for public servants, a shift away from colonialism, massive restructuring in the 1980s and 90s, and the realities of the global economy in the twenty-first century. All of which have had profound implications for public servants.

In 2013, the PSA celebrates its centenary.

Authorisation Form

Download here


PSA Legal Strategy: Policy and Procedures

Part One

Purpose
The following policy and procedure is used to determine whether to proceed with a personal case beyond the workplace.

Policy
The PSA’s aim in personal cases is to achieve settlement without recourse to the provisions of the Employment Relations Act. The PSA, as a legal entity, must work within the law in all its operations but our approach is that the law provides a framework within which the parties to a dispute or grievance can work to resolve the problems that have generated the dispute or grievance.

However, the PSA is committed to representing the legal interests of its members. Accordingly the PSA will generally take cases where it has been assessed that the affected member (or members) has a better than 50% chance of success before the Employment Relations Authority and the taking of the case is not inconsistent with the PSA’s objective and strategy . This applies to any decision to take a case to either mediation or beyond mediation to the Authority. The taking of any case is subject to the member taking the advice of the PSA and not authorising any other legal advocate.

It is also PSA policy to take legal cases that advance the strategic interests of the union and have organisational value. Accordingly the PSA may be willing to take a case where the chance of success is less than 50%, where it can be demonstrated that there is a strategic advantage in doing so. The following factors will be taken into account when making this decision:

Organisers are responsible for cases in their area and are the contact between the legal team and the member. Organisers are responsible for taking cases to mediation in most situations, in consultation with the legal team.

The legal team is responsible for representation of members and the PSA: in mediation if appropriate; in the Employment Relations Authority; in the Employment Court, and either as Senior or Junior Counsel in the Court of Appeal. The legal team will have a role in reporting back Employment Authority and Court decisions to members.

Procedure

1. Organisers need to notify the legal team prior to deciding that a case will proceed to mediation. The legal team will advise the organiser and assistant secretary of any concerns they have regarding the mediation.

2. Where mediation is to proceed and assistance is required from the legal team adequate notice should be given by the organiser wherever possible.

3. If the matter is to proceed beyond mediation then the relevant assistant secretary and/or member of the Secretariat must assess the case with regard to:

(a) PSA and sector/enterprise strategy;

(b) Communication with the employer to date and mediation outcome;

(c ) The legal team’s advice on the potential cost of taking the case taking into account the resource that will have to be utilised and potential costs that may be awarded against the member (which are paid for by the PSA) and/or the PSA if unsuccessful;

(d) The overall merit and justice of the case

(e) Wider organising repercussions of taking or not taking the case further

(f) The legal team’s view on the strengths or weaknesses of the case and their recommendation on whether or not to take the case further

4. If the relevant assistant secretary and/or member of the secretariat recommend that the case should be taken further then an organiser is assigned to the case and retains a high degree of input throughout the process. The organiser will be responsible for updating and supporting the affected member(s) in consultation with the solicitor dealing with the case. The organiser and solicitor assigned to the case will report back to the assistant secretary and/or member of the secretariat regularly on the progress of the case so that the assistant secretary and/or member of the secretariat knows what is happening on the file and, if appropriate, the case is integrated into strategic planning on a consistent nation-wide basis.

5. The organiser will assist the solicitor on the case as required throughout the process including attending hearings.

6. Throughout the case the organiser maintains contact with the member. The organiser must discuss with the relevant organising team and legal team member the appropriate way to convey the decision to the member and to deal with the decision when it becomes available so as to maximise the strategic value of the case and our membership in the area.

7. Decisions on taking a case to the Employment Court or Court of Appeal need to follow the process outlined in paragraph 3 above.

8. In situations where the case is not taken further the team (consisting of the legal team, the organiser and the relevant assistant secretariat) decides how the decision is communicated to the member and, if appropriate, the affected membership.


Part Two

Background


Scope of the legal strategy for the PSA
The legal strategy for the PSA addresses all the legal work and advice provided by the union. It acknowledges that the legal team is at the heart of our legal activities but recognises that we operate within a legal framework, with a large number of lay people, mainly organisers, who give advice and advocate on legal matters.

The legal strategy also reflects the range of issues that are brought to the union by its members and by the environment within which the PSA operates. This includes not only employment law, but also ACC and matters related to professional competence and discipline.


Purpose of the legal strategy
The legal strategy also fits within the wider strategy of the PSA, Partnership for Quality, and contributes towards the achievement of the PSA’s objective.

The PSA’s objective is to build union organisation able to influence the social, political, economic and industrial environment to advance the individual and collective interests of PSA members. Partnership for Quality involves the PSA working alongside other parties, especially employers, industry and government, to create successful outcomes for all parties. Partnership for Quality is built on an understanding that the parties (union, employer, government) have many shared interests, particularly the delivery of high quality public services and high quality employment. Partnership for Quality means PSA members (through their union), working in partnership with employers and government to create the best possible public services for New Zealanders. Partnership for Quality means that the legal strategy of the PSA is focused on the workplace and places an emphasis on problem solving, quality and timely representation and advice, capability development and empowerment.

The PSA has a legal resource because, as a union and a legal entity, we must work within the law in all our operations. The law permeates all aspects of the union’s work and most teams in the organisation require some level of legal knowledge. This need to “internalise” knowledge of the law means it makes sense for the PSA to have its own legal resource, rather than relying on contracting in the services for particular purposes.

The purpose of the legal resource of the PSA is to equip the union to provide legal services effectively in support of the PSA’s objective, strategy and organising practice. The purpose of the legal strategy is to identify the pressures on the legal resource, to clarify responsibilities and establish priorities.


A legal strategy consistent with PfQ
Partnership for Quality means that the legal strategy of the PSA is focused on the workplace and places an emphasis on problem solving, quality and timely representation and advice, capability development and empowerment. The PSA must work within the law in all its operations but our approach is that the law provides a framework within which the parties to a dispute or grievance can work to resolve the problems that have generated the dispute or grievance. There is an emphasis on solutions that lead to disputes being settled early and, where practicable, in a manner that preserves the relationship with the employer.

PfQ places an onus on all parts of the union to think and act strategically. The legal resource must be utilised not only for the benefit of individual members, but also the collective good of the union and its members as a whole. It is acknowledged that there will at times be a tension between the two in the decisions over which cases to run and what approach to take.

As a consequence one of the objectives of the legal strategy is to ensure the early resolution of disputes and minimising the recourse to legal action. However this needs to be balanced against the PSA’s obligation to ensure members have quality representation and the need to manage the legal budget on behalf of all members.


The legal environment
The Employment Relations Act (ERA) provides the main legal framework within which the PSA operates. The object of the Act, as set out in S.3 is:'

“To build productive employment relationships through the promotion of mutual trust and confidence in all aspects of the employment environment and of the employment relationship”.

The Act does this through, among other things, the concept of “good faith”, acknowledging and addressing the inequality of bargaining power in employment relationships, promoting collective bargaining, protecting individual choice, promoting mediation and reducing the need for judicial intervention.

The PSA’s experience of the ERA has generally been positive. The emphasis on employment “relations” and “good faith” processes, as opposed to “contracts”, is consistent with PfQ and has supported the development of the PSA’s strategy. Provisions supportive of collective bargaining, including the establishment of MECAs, have facilitated the successes the union has achieved in such areas as health bargaining.

Our experience of the processes for dealing with employment relations disputes under the ERA is generally positive. The increased emphasis on mediation has been good as most disputes are resolved there (70% with a slightly higher resolution rate for individuals than for collective bargaining employment problems ). It is worth noting that the Department of Labour study found in their case studies “all parties expressed the view that the involvement of lawyers in a dispute tended to drag out the process and raised the expense much more than was the case if the employer worked with the relevant union. Employers generally reported unions as moving to resolve disputes more quickly and pragmatically than their lawyers did”.

In 2004 amendments introduced provisions dealing with “pass on” and the payment of a bargaining fee by non-union members.

The Act is now well established and a number of legal issues arising out of its application are now having to be confronted:
Pass-on: Under the ERA, pass on of union settlements to non-union members is generally unlawful. The no pass-on provisions of the ERA have come before the Employment Court on one occasion (NDU v Progressive Enterprises) but the court has not yet given its decision on that. Passing on is an issue that affects workers in both the public and private sector but one of the difficulties with pursuing passing on cases is that the legal test is a difficult one to meet.

The PSA is already negotiating union-only provisions such as partnership premiums, and is committed to implementing bargaining fees in the right circumstances. However, there are currently several government departments who appear to be quite openly passing on terms and conditions negotiated by the PSA and this could become a bigger issue for the PSA.

Good Faith: The other area where there is still considerable uncertainty is the broader issue of good faith. The introduction of the concept has been helpful but there is no real limit to the kinds of behaviour that may amount to a breach of good faith and there is no shortage of examples of apparent breaches of good faith, particularly around employer behaviour during bargaining.

Test for justification in relation to personal grievances: One of the most significant Employment Court decisions of recent times is the Hudson v Air New Zealand case which was the first case to deal with s103A of the ERA (Test for justification in relation to personal grievances). In broad terms it has made it more difficult for employers to justify dismissals or any other act that may give rise to a personal grievance, which has implications for which cases are taken and how far we go with them.

New Law: In very general terms the ERA provides a framework in which unions can potentially develop legal strategies to advance the interests of members, although this is tempered by the conservative nature of the Employment Court. This potential has yet to be fully realised.


Relationships within the PSA
Within the PSA the legal team interacts primarily with the organising function, but is also part of the strategy and support function of the union. It reports directly to the Secretariat.

The interaction with organising practice means that the relationship with organisers is very important. Organisers should be the face of the union that manages the relationship with members in difficulty. Their advice in the early stages of disputes can contribute to the ultimate success or failure of legal action. The knowledge and ability of organisers therefore has a direct impact on what the legal team do and their overall workload. Organiser capability and the lines of responsibility are therefore important considerations for the legal team, as is their relationship with the assistant secretaries who manage the organising function.

Delegates usually handle the early stages of disputes and personal grievances. While they also should be working through their organiser, their legal knowledge and ability will be important for the successful outcome of cases. Delegate capability is therefore also an important consideration for the legal team.

Other teams within the strategy and support function of the PSA are less important to the focus of the team, but they can and should support each other where their responsibilities overlap. Of particular importance is the relationship with the policy team, for example in the development of new policy and the preparation of submissions on law changes.

The Secretariat must manage the legal team and has a particular concern for the strategic aspects of the team’s work. The Secretariat must be aware of pressures on the team and the strategic implications of decisions that are made on which cases to advance. One of the assistant secretaries is designated as the primary liaison with the legal team and works with the secretariat to assess priorities.


Legal Priorities
1. Representation of members and advice on employment law - the workplace is the focus of legal team activity.
2. Providing organisers with the legal support they need for collective bargaining.
3. Minimise the use of legal action and support the early resolution of disputes and grievances.
4. Organiser and delegate legal capability is appropriate to the legal challenges they face. Regular training is provided to equip organisers to manage most legal issues that arise in the course of their work. Legal information provided as part of delegate training is suited to purpose.
5. Providing organisers with legal advice about pass-on and reviewing the possibility of a legal challenge to apparent passing on should a suitably strong case arise.
6. Ensure the merits of personal grievances are considered in light of the Hudson v Air New Zealand case, and that the interests of individuals and the collective interests of the PSA are balanced.
7. Support any work that might arise to clarify what good faith might mean in a particular sector or agency, such as a code of good faith, and be open to the possibility of a judicial clarification in appropriate cases.
8. Identify some of the key areas of 'new law' in the ERA which have the potential to further the interests of PSA members and be more proactive in raising legal challenges to offensive employer behaviour.
9. Co-ordinate with the other Strategy and Support functions of the PSA, particularly policy and communications.
10. Providing legal support to the strategic, management and policy functions of the PSA. External advice is sought when specialist legal knowledge is needed.
11. Clarifying the respective responsibilities of the legal team and organisers by regularly reviewing the Legal Case Policy and Procedure (see below).


Legal case policy and procedure
The policy and procedure for the progression of legal cases is set out in Part Two. The revised policy has been developed to provide a clearer framework to determine whether and how to proceed with legal steps beyond the workplace in individual cases.

The revised policy and procedure makes the following changes from previous practice:

Note: the legal strategy was approved by the executive board in October 2006.

Policy on the Conduct of Negotiations for Collective Agreement

NZ Public Service Association:Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi


Rationale

The PSA has established a number of bargaining strategies which have been signed off by the Executive Board. Implementation of these strategies involves the pursuit of the interests of individual PSA members as well as the collective interests of PSA members in a particular enterprise, industry, or across the union as a whole. Maximising the union’s influence in the pursuit of these interests involves strategic and tactical decision making from an individual, enterprise, and a whole of union perspective.

A strategic approach requires a recognition that bargaining takes place within a wider context than just the enterprise, business unit or occupational group, even when the actual negotiations take place at the enterprise level. The PSA has strategic interests within individual enterprises or groups of enterprises covered by the bargaining, just as state sector employers do. It is important the PSA develops a whole of union and industry approach within this environment to best engage with employer industry strategies to maximise our effectiveness. There is, therefore, a need to maintain consistency across settlements as we strive to promote both enterprise and national objectives, and a need to connect bargaining to what else is going on between the PSA and the employer within the enterprise or enterprises. Our bargaining strategies set out the PSA’s national objectives for bargaining while allowing us to address the more specific needs of members within their workplace.

A policy is needed to provide clarity about the respective responsibilities of those involved, ensure consistency, promote both the wider and enterprise level interests of members and manage the precedent value of any settlement.


Purpose

To ensure that the PSA achieves the maximum effectiveness in the implementation of the union’s bargaining strategies by ensuring consistency in the process of negotiation through appropriate support, direction and accountabilities for negotiating teams.


Relationship to other documents

This policy should be read in conjunction with the relevant PSA bargaining strategy, the PSA model Bargaining Process Agreement, the PSA Ground Rules, enterprise plans, the PSA Bargaining Outcomes and the PSA Bargaining Plan template.


Application

This policy applies to all PSA negotiations where the PSA is the only or the dominant union. In bargaining for multi-union collective agreements where the PSA has to compromise with other unions it is recognised that the details of the policy may not always be able to be adhered to.

Similarly, in some workplaces the details may not always be appropriately applied, depending on the particular circumstances and/or structures.

For the avoidance of doubt, this policy also applies to negotiations for variations to collective agreements.

Roles and Responsibilities

Executive Board
The Executive Board has the responsibility to set and monitor the implementation of whole of union bargaining strategies.

Secretariat
Implementing a whole of Union bargaining strategy involves the Secretariat providing a whole of union oversight. The wider interests of members are best served when the union is able to ensure, as far as possible, a disciplined approach to bargaining. In achieving this the Secretariat is expected to exercise a degree of co-ordination and control of the entire bargaining process, provided that any and all proposed collective agreements must be ratified by at least a majority of affected members to become PSA Collective Employment Agreements.

The staff roles set out in this policy are delegated by the Secretariat to maximise the operation of this policy. The Secretariat has responsibility to ensure that the staff of the union provide appropriate direction and support by:

Negotiating Team
Individual negotiating teams have a dual accountability. They are representatives of their members in the enterprise or group of enterprises, and are also representatives of the PSA. That is, they work to meet the needs of the members within their enterprise or group of enterprises, are aware of the links between bargaining and the wider relationship with the employer(s), while actively seeking to achieve the objectives of any relevant PSA bargaining strategy. They are also aware of the precedent value of any settlement they promote for PSA members in other enterprises.

Negotiating teams are composed of members (usually delegates) who in any given situation best reflect the range of members represented and who have collectively the skills suited to the task of bargaining. Negotiating teams also contain a PSA staff member acting as an advocate who leads both the content and process of bargaining. In addition, a PSA assistant secretary will normally be included formally as a negotiating team member, but may not normally attend bargaining but be available to do so if required.

Negotiating teams have the following responsibilities:

Members
The members covered by any given set of negotiations for a collective agreement are expected to play an active role in the process including
• Approving by a majority of members the bargaining brief to be followed by the negotiating team, including the Union’s agenda for bargaining, the composition of the negotiating team and the final ratification process.
• Ratifying any proposed collective agreement
• Approving by democratic vote, any decision to take industrial action in support of a collective agreement
• Promoting and supporting the work of the Union and the bargaining team during negotiations to potential members and the employer.

Enterprise-based Democratic Structures
There are a variety of enterprise-based democratic structures within the PSA, reflecting the varied nature of the union’s coverage e.g.

All these democratic structures have a role in selecting negotiating teams, helping to develop a bargaining brief, receiving regular reports from the negotiating team and ensuring that the needs of the members in the enterprise or bargaining unit are being reflected in the bargaining process.


The Bargaining Brief

The bargaining brief sets out the issues that will be the focus of bargaining, and provides the framework for the work of the negotiating team, including the degree of discretion allowed to the team on particular matters. It is not a set of claims.

The bargaining brief is developed early by the enterprise democratic structure, together with the negotiating team and reflects:

The statement of bargaining outcomes provides guidance from the PSA on the implementation of the bargaining strategy and sets out broad parameters within which the negotiating team must work. Where necessary it may specify some matters that may not be varied.

Any other guidance from the PSA should reflect the situation of the enterprise, including its relationship to other sections of the PSA’s membership and the likely weight given to any precedent arising out of a settlement there, and any other strategic objectives being pursued by the PSA within that enterprise.

The negotiating team must check with the Assistant Secretary that the bargaining brief promotes, and is consistent with the relevant PSA bargaining strategy.


The Bargaining Process Agreement

The PSA has a model bargaining process agreement, which serves as the basis for all bargaining process agreements.

In the course of negotiating a bargaining process agreement with an employer or group of employers there is potential for the final agreement to vary from the model. Where this variation is likely to be significant (e.g. where key elements of the model are undermined) the negotiating team must refer the issue back to the appropriate Assistant Secretary.

The advocate signs the final version of the bargaining process agreement.


Communicating Progress of Bargaining

Members are kept informed on progress in negotiations.

Enterprise-based democratic structures receive regular verbal and written reports on the progress of bargaining and work with the negotiating team to ensure the maintenance of the bargaining brief.

The Assistant Secretaries receive regular reports on the progress of bargaining. In particular, proposals are tested early with the Assistant Secretary where they might be contentious or have the potential to be outside the expected outcomes of bargaining. This communication should ensure that there are ‘no surprises’ for either the negotiating team or the PSA.

During the course of bargaining both the Assistant Secretary and the Secretariat can refer proposals back to the negotiating team to revisit where they:


Mediation

When in mediation negotiating teams work according to the principles and obligations contained in this policy, as in open negotiation. The authority to decide to go to mediation lies with the full negotiating team and the Assistant Secretary in consultation with the enterprise based democratic structure.


Industrial Action

The authority to recommend industrial action lies with the full negotiating team and the Secretariat, after consultation with the enterprise-based democratic structure.

The decision to take industrial action is made by a majority (usually 50%+1) of PSA members in the affected bargaining unit who vote in a democratic ballot. A higher threshold may be agreed by the members.

Authority to Settle

The union’s negotiating team has the authority to bargain to the point of achieving a proposed collective agreement and then must refer any proposed collective agreement to the Secretariat/Assistant Secretary and enterprise-based democratic structure for consideration.

The Secretariat/Assistant Secretary will check the proposed collective agreement and may refer it back to the negotiating team to revisit in bargaining if they decide that it:

Before making a decision to support or refer back a proposed collective agreement the Assistant Secretary or Secretariat is to confer with the negotiating team and enterprise-based democratic structure.

Ratification

Ratification will normally be on the basis of 50%+1 of the votes cast in a democratic ballot being in favour of accepting the proposed collective agreement although a higher threshold may be agreed by the members.

When the proposal is to vary a collective agreement, the ratification procedure must be consistent with the ratification clause contained in the collective agreement.

The process for ratification is endorsed by a ballot of members held prior to the commencement of negotiations.

The Advocate notifies the employer in writing of the endorsed ratification procedure prior to beginning negotiations.

The Advocate will oversees the ratification process in accordance with the bargaining process agreement. The reporting back to members on the proposed collective agreement and progress against the negotiating brief is normally the responsibility of the negotiating team.

Before referring a proposed collective agreement to members for ratification, the Advocate ensures the employer has signed the proposed collective agreement.

A copy of the proposed collective agreement, with changes noted, must be provided to members prior to a ratification ballot being held.

Signing

A collective agreement may be signed only after it has been ratified by members.

The Advocate, Assistant Secretary or a National Secretary may sign a collective agreement on behalf of the PSA.


After the bargaining

As soon as possible after ratification the Advocate will ensure the Organising Centre is sent a final signed copy of the collective agreement and the information team is sent an electronic copy of the collective agreement. Copies of all collective agreements are held in the Wellington office of PSA.

The Advocate will input the barging outcomes in the Bargaining Outcomes Tool in MOST.

The Advocate will complete an evaluation of the negotiation process and outcomes with the negotiating team and, where possible also with the employer.

Note: This policy should be read in conjunction with the relevant PSA Bargaining Strategy, and PSA bargaining priorities, the PSA model Bargaining Process Agreement, the PSA Ground Rules, enterprise plans, the PSA Bargaining Outcomes and the PSA Bargaining Plan template.]

PSA Bargaining Strategy

The Bargaining Strategy can be viewed here.

PSA bargaining priorities

The Bargaining Priorities can be viewed here.

Organiser job description

The Organiser Job Description can be viewed here.

PSA model Bargaining Process Agreement

The PSAModel Bargaining Process Agreement can be view here.

Guidelines for the Use of the Bargaining Fee by the PSA

Principles

The PSA, in accordance with its Partnership for Quality strategy, is committed to working constructively with employers and members to resolve issues around bargaining and the promotion of unionisation through a collective approach.

The bargaining fee is a tool to assist the bargaining process. It is not a complete answer to issues of recruitment and pass-on for the PSA.

The bargaining fee should only be utilised where more positive and collective approaches, such as union-only provisions, are not considered enough to ensure a positive outcome from the bargaining process, and the circumstances are appropriate.

The payment of a bargaining fee does not exclude the possibility of a delay in pass on (or other union only provisions) giving union members an advantage.


Process

The possibility of using a bargaining fee can be raised at any point during the bargaining process.

Where an organiser and their negotiating team thinks a bargaining fee is appropriate she/he must advise the relevant Assistant Secretary who will seek the approval of the secretariat.

It is recognised that the issue of whether or not to seek approval for a bargaining fee will be the subject of discussion by negotiating teams and their organisers. However, PSA policy, that the use of the bargaining fee is a last resort, must be observed and organisers and negotiating teams should be careful not to raise delegates and members expectations that a bargaining fee is necessarily the best solution to the problems they face in bargaining.

The referral to the Secretariat will take place at a time that is appropriate in the process, bearing in mind that in some circumstances it will be desirable to include the bargaining fee in the pre-bargaining agreement, whereas at other times greater leverage might be achieved if the bargaining fee was decided later in the process.

In making a request the organiser will identify the organisation, the history of employment relations in the enterprise, the current and historical union density and the reasons for seeking the bargaining fee.

The Assistant Secretaries and Secretariat will expedite the process of approval to ensure the quickest possible turnaround following receipt of the request. A decision on a request for approval will normally be made and advised to the organiser within 3 working days.

In making their decision the secretariat will give due weight to the recommendation from the organiser on the ground.


Guidelines for Approval

These guidelines apply to the decision making process of the secretariat. Organisers should take these into account when seeking approval for a bargaining fee.

The Secretariat will take the following factors into consideration when making a decision on a request for approval:

Bargaining Fee Arrangements
The bargaining fee should be set at the full union subscription or as close as possible to the full union subscription.

Where approval is given and the ballot is successful, the deductions must be remitted through the membership system.

Organisers need to liaise with the PSA Finance team as soon as approval is given, to ensure that payment is effected smoothly.

There is a need for good communication to organisers, delegates, members and those paying the fees before the vote and afterwards to ensure that the process and the effect were understood – in particular that people paying the fee are not entitled to the rights of members.

A standard clause must be used as the basis of all negotiations with employers over the application of the bargaining fee.

PSA Change Management Toolkit

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PSA Media Relations Policy

POLICY AND GUIDELINES FOR PSA ELECTED OFFICIALS AND STAFF

Introduction

The PSA is a national union representing public service workers in central and local government, the health sector, tertiary education and in community services. We seek media coverage about a wide range of issues relating to public services, public administration, government policy and matters of industrial significance to our members. This media relations policy advises PSA elected officials and staff about the approach to be taken to the management of media issues.

PART 1: PSA MEDIA RELATIONS POLICY

Purpose and approach

The focus for the PSA media relations approach is to actively seek opportunities for the PSA to take newsworthy positions on a wide range of public sector issues and events.

The PSA seeks more and better media coverage in an effort to advance the purpose and objectives of the PSA and in particular to:

The purpose of the PSA media policy is to:

PSA media communications need as much as possible to be:

Scope

This policy applies to all forms of mass communications media, including national, local and community newspapers, radio, television, electronic media and other forms of published news.

Authorised spokespeople

The National Secretaries are the authorised spokespeople of the PSA. There are matters where it is appropriate for the PSA President to be the spokesperson and these are decided on a case by case basis.

Delegation of spokesperson role

The national secretaries may delegate others who have detailed knowledge of a local or national PSA issue to act as the PSA spokespeople. The decision to delegate the spokesperson role will be made in respect of specific media events on a case-by-case basis. Delegation may be made to an elected official, an assistant secretary, organiser, media advisor, policy advisor or other member of staff.

Any person so delegated must contact the Media Advisor before any comment is given, to ensure that comments made on behalf of the PSA represent accurately PSA policy and strategy.

Spokespeople must brief the Media Advisor after speaking to the media about any issues arising from the contact. The purpose of this is to achieve a consistent line and in order to monitor media coverage.

Role of PSA media advisor

The core function of the PSA Media Advisor is to co-ordinate media communications and liaison.

Media inquiries directed to staff or elected officials should be referred to the Media Advisor.

The Media Advisor is to 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.

To ensure the accuracy and consistency of all PSA communications with the media (including radio, print, and television journalists), and to provide a clear reference point for the media, all media comment on workplace disputes, matters of PSA policy and operation, and public sector issues must come from or through the Media Advisor.

PART 2: PSA MEDIA RELATIONS POLICY GUIDELINES

Identification of issues

The Secretariat and Media Advisor should regularly identify current issues on which the PSA can proactively or reactively comment. These may arise from enterprise contact and other organising work, or from other areas of PSA focus including policy work.

PSA staff are encouraged to identify opportunities for positive media stories, letters to the editor and media releases and communicate these to the Media Advisor.

Disputes media coverage – the role of assistant secretaries, organisers and delegates

Disputes in progress are the most common source of media interest in the PSA.

It is likely that the Assistant Secretaries will be delegated as spokespeople to deal with industrial disputes in many situations.

Delegates and PSA staff are often in the ‘front-line’ during disputes, standing on public pickets, for example, and regularly approached by journalists. As such they are important links between the PSA spokespeople and the media, but they are not spokespeople, unless delegated by one of the spokespeople.

The key role for organisers and delegates in relation to journalists is as facilitators of contact with the authorised PSA spokespeople.

Organisers and/or delegates involved in a particular dispute should ensure that the relevant Secretariat member or Assistant Secretary and the Media Advisor have up-to-date information about a dispute, preferably before it has become a media story, and as the dispute progresses.

Approaches from journalists should be responded to with information about how to contact the Media Advisor.

We recognise that local organisers and delegates often have strong relationships with local journalists and in some cases are best placed to comment. They are also often the most informed about current developments in a dispute. However, the policy on delegation and on the co-ordinating role of the media advisor is to be followed at all times.

We hope that those local relationships and knowledge can be effective in assisting the best possible coverage for the PSA by:

Key steps in facilitating media coverage

Ensure the Media Advisor is well-informed prior to a dispute attracting media attention. The Media Advisor will need a thorough background on the key issues of the dispute and the likely time and nature of any activity that might attract media attention.

Ensure you have the Media Advisor’s contact details in any situation where media contact is likely. This should include office phone no, mobile phone no, fax and e-mail address.

When asked for comment by a journalist, respond with the contact details for the media advisor or the PSA spokespeople, as appropriate. Factual information, such as the names of people who may be in a picture being taken by a newspaper photographer or the likely duration of a picket or start-time and destination for a march, should be given.

In the case of a journalist looking for a quote which represents the PSA’s position on an issue, provide contact details of the appropriate spokesperson. Where possible this should be sorted out beforehand.

Note: This is not a matter of not being allowed to talk to the media, so responses such as “No comment” or “I’m not allowed to talk to you” are not helpful or accurate.

Rather, “I’m not the media spokesperson on this, you should contact …..etc” or “The best person for you to talk to about this is ….. etc” are effective ways of facilitating the contact.

Journalists will often pressure PSA officials, on the pretext of deadlines, to give comment on the spot, irrespective of having been offered contact details for spokespeople. Please do not accede to this pressure and stick to the media guidelines detailed here. All professional journalists understand this kind of approach despite occasional protestations.


March 2007

Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina - He Reo Mō ngā Mema Māori

Download here

The Regulations of the New Zealand Public Service Association

Regulations and Rules can be viewed here.

PSA Rules

Rules and Regulations can be viewed here.

PSA Complaints Policy

The Complaints Policy can be viewed here.

Delegate Job Description - Enterprise Delegate Committee Convenor Job Description

Job Description for a convenor of an Enterprise Delegate Committee

Description Convenors are delegates and members of an enterprise delegate committee.

Approach The agreed approach to the role of convenors of enterprise delegate committees is:

Key roles The key roles and functions of sector convenors are:

Enterprise delegate committee leadership and development:

Active contribution to the work of the PSA’s governance structures:


Leadership within the enterprise

Enterprise plans:

Relationships

The key relationships managed by convenors of enterprise delegate committees are with:

Sector Committee Representatives

Lead Organiser for the enterprise:


Delegates:

Health and safety representatives:

Organising administrator:

Support for role
The role of enterprise delegate convenor role is a leadership role within the PSA structures at enterprise level. The holder of that position has influence within the organisation and access to information and debate. It requires a level of focus and time commitment. The PSA provides support for the role primarily through the lead organiser and administrative support as appropriate. The PSA is also committed to negotiating adequate time off from normal duties for the convenor to enable her/him to perform their role at an appropriate level of competence.

PSA Membership Form

The Membership Form can be viewed here.

Delegate expenses

Delegate Expenses Guide
Delegate Expenses Reimbursement Policy
Delegate Expenses Claim Form
Delegate Interim Expense Advance Form

Māori Enterprise Delegate Guide

Maori Enterprise Delegate Guide can be viewed here.

Sector committee representative: job description

Description Sector committee representatives are workplace delegates elected by other workplace delegates within a constituency as defined in the sector committee procedures.

Approach
The agreed approach to the role of sector committee representative is:

Key roles The key roles and functions of sector committee representatives are:

Active contribution to the work of the sector committee:

Leadership within the constituency

Within their own enterprise

Relationships
The key relationships managed by sector committee representatives are with:

PSA leadership in enterprises

Sector committee

PSA

Support for role
The role of sector committee representative is a leadership role within the PSA governance structures. The holder of that position has influence within the organisation and access to information and debate. It requires a level of focus and time commitment. The PSA is committed to negotiating adequate time off from normal duties for sector committee representatives them to perform their role at an appropriate level of competence. Meeting papers and background information on issues will be provided. Sector committee representatives will have access to the PSA’s communications systems for reporting purposes, on conditions as may be agreed with the secretariat.

Constituencies

Public Service Sector

The constituencies of the public servicesector will be finalised no later than June 2011.

State Sector

The constituencies of the state sector will finalised no later than June 2011.

District Health Board Sector

The constituencies of the district health board sector will be finalised no later than June 2011.

Community Public Services Sector

The constituencies of the community public services sector will be finalised no later than June 2011

Local Government Sector

The constituencies of the local government sector will be finalised no later than June 2011.

Enterprise Delegate Convenor

Description

Enterprise delegate convenors are delegates and members of an enterprise delegate committee.

Approach
The agreed approach to the role of convenors of enterprise delegate committees is:

Key roles
The key roles and functions ofenterprise delegateconvenors are:

Enterprise delegate committee leadership and development:


Active contribution to the work of the PSA’s governance structures:

Leadership within the enterprise

Enterprise plans:

Relationships

The key relationships managed by convenors of enterprise delegate committees are with:

Sector Committee Representatives

Lead Organiser for the enterprise:

Delegates:

Health and safety representatives:

Organising administrator:

Assistant secretaries:

Support for role
The role of enterprise delegate convenor role is a leadership role within the PSA structures at enterprise level. The holder of that position has influence within the organisation and access to information and debate. It requires a level of focus and time commitment. The PSA provides support for the role primarily through the lead organiser and administrative support as appropriate. The PSA is also committed to negotiating adequate time off from normal duties for the convenor to enable her/him to perform their role at an appropriate level of competence.

Engagement

The PSA uses its partnership approach to gain greater influence for members in the workplace. We seek to engage constructively with the employer, where we can, to advance members’ interests and improve services. The vertical axis relates to the union objective of using Partnership for Quality when engaging with the employer to address issues in the workplace. Engagement needs to be regular and at all levels of an organisation (i.e. with immediate managers and team leaders through to senior managers and the chief executive) to build:
Leadership
= delegates providing a leading role in the workplace meeting with managers and ascertaining the collective views of members and representing them. Participation
= involvement by PSA representatives in working parties, committees, forums and other workplace initiatives. Agenda
= ensuring that matters of strategic and practical importance to union members are put forward proactively by union representatives; that union representatives clearly respond with members’ views on matters raised by management. Structure and process
= an agreed arrangement that allows for union representatives to meet and hold regular and structured dialogue with managers, and operating with agreed ground rules.

Building union organisation

To maximize our effectiveness, the PSA needs to build union organisation. The horizontal axis relates to the first part of the union objective ‘to build union organisation’ which aims to:
Increase union membership density
– to have the vast majority of eligible employees as members of the union, that is, 80–100 percent of staff as members of the PSA.
Elect delegates
Delegates are the key to union organisation. A good ratio of delegates to members ensures good representation; a working principle is to have one delegate to twenty members but this ratio is indicative only and delegate representation should always be appropriate to the workplace.
Delegates need to be supported by members in their workplaces, and they need to be trained and to work as a team with other delegates
Have good union workplace structures
This means
- regular meetings of members, and
- good communication systems, i.e. efficient journal distribution, a PSA noticeboard, email contact and union newsletters, as well as regular meetings of delegates, and regular contact with PSA staff.
Operate democratically as a union
Members need to be involved in the union and have their say. The election of leaders (delegates) takes place regularly through members meetings.

Role of the organiser

Organisers are a vital and integral part of the PSA team. Their role is to organise members into an effective collective in order to gain maximum influence for the good of all members through the union. In this, their main task is to support delegates in building union organisation and engaging with the employer. While organisers will from time to time deal with issues where these are beyond the expertise of delegates (e.g. working with individual members who have particularly difficult problems in the workplace) they are focussed on building the systems, and providing the knowledge that assist delegates in raising, advancing and resolving issues as a collective organisation. Their role includes: SEEAPPENDIX: OrganiserJob Description See also The organising function.

Bargaining priorities and strategies

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. Organization Chart In essence: 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 approach to bargaining

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:

How the PSA manages the conduct of negotiations

Policy on the Conduct of Negotiations for Collective Agreement The PSA plans and co-ordinates bargaining to ensure consistency across the union. It is a disciplined approach intended to ensure the best outcome from bargaining and protection of members’ pay and conditions. The secretariat (and assistant secretaries) exercises a degree of co-ordination and control of the entire bargaining process to ensure consistency with the priorities and strategy. Negotiating teams are accountable for achieving the best possible outcome for the members they represent and to the wider PSA for any precedent value in their settlement. Negotiating teams are composed of members (usually delegates) who, in any given situation, best reflect the range of members represented and who between them have the skills suited to the task of bargaining. Negotiating teams also contain a PSA staff member acting as an advocate who leads both the content and process of bargaining. Negotiating teams are guided by a bargaining brief established to set up a framework for bargaining in that enterprise, including objectives for bargaining. They also negotiate a bargaining process agreement with the employer to govern the relationship between the parties during bargaining. Members covered by a collective agreement get to approve the bargaining brief and to decide by vote whether or not to ratify the agreement once bargaining has concluded.

The Bargaining Process agreement

The PSA model Bargaining Process Agreement serves as the basis for all bargaining process agreements.

Communicating the Process of Bargaining

Members, enterprise-based democratic structures, and the Assistant Secretaries are kept informed on progress in negotiations.

AuthoritiesThe authority to decide to go to mediation, or to recommend industrial action,lies with the full negotiating team and the Assistant Secretary in consultation with the enterprise based democratic structureThe union’s negotiating team has authority to bargain to the point of achieving a proposed collective agreement, and must then refer any proposed collective agreement to the Secretariat/Assistant Secretary and enterprise-based democratic structure for consideration.Authority to settleThis lies with the Assistant secretary/Secretariat after conference with the negotiating team and the enterprise based democratic structure.

Ratification

Ratification is the process of voting by members to endorse or reject a proposed collective agreement settlement. Ratification is normally on the basis of 50%+1 of the votes cast in a democratic ballot being in favour of accepting the proposed collective agreement (a higher threshold may be agreed by the members).The process for ratification is endorsed by a ballot of members held prior to the commencement of negotiations.

Signing.
A collective agreement may be signed only after it has been ratified by members.


Bargaining fee

Guidelines for the Use of the Bargaining Fee by the PSA – Te Pukenga Here Tikanga MahiUnder the Employment Relations Act, bargaining fees payable to unions by non-union members in a workplace may be bargained into collective agreements.

A bargaining fee does not come into force unless agreed by the employer and the union and then endorsed in a secret ballot (conducted jointly by the employer and union) of employees who perform work within the coverage clause of the collective agreement, whether they are members of the union or not.

If individuals choose not to pay, the benefits of the collective agreement will not apply.The PSA considers the bargaining fee to be a tool to assist the bargaining process. It should only be utilised where more positive and collective approaches, such as union-only provisions, are not considered enough to ensure a positive outcome from the bargaining process, and the circumstances are appropriate. The decision on whether to utilise the bargaining fee lies with the secretariat.

How the PSA represents individual members

Joining the PSA gives individual members access to the collective benefits of union membership. In addition individual members have access to help if things go wrong for them at work or they are subject to unfair treatment. This help is available through the following.

The PSA legal policy

PSA Legal Strategy: Policy and Procedures. The PSA is committed to representing the legal interests of its members. Full membership represents an authority to represent, but not an obligation for the union to act as representative in all matters relating to the member’s employment, including where individual members have problems at work. Where members have problems at work, the PSA’s aim is to achieve settlement without recourse to the provisions of the Employment Relations Act. However the law provides a framework within which the parties to a dispute or grievance can work to resolve the problems that have generated the dispute or grievance.
Note: The taking of any case is subject to the member taking the advice of the PSA and not authorising any other legal advocate. If, at the point of joining the union, a member has a problem requiring the active support of the PSA, the union is not obliged to take the case. It is PSA policy to:

Professional Protection

The PSA does not provide professional indemnity insurance cover but may provide legal and support services for members who are the subject of investigations or prosecution by professional bodies such as registering authorities under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act 2003, or investigatory bodies such as the Health and Disability Commissioner. The services are offered according to the following guidelines:

The PSA is a political organisation

The PSA is a political organisation. By this we do not mean that we are party political. Rule 7(2) of the PSA rules makes it clear that the union cannot affiliate with or make any donation to a political party. However, we are inevitably involved in the politics of the workplace and, given that our members are mostly employed by public sector organisations or in the delivery of public services, we need to engage with the government, political parties and other organisations involved in the political process in order to advance our members’ interests. The PSA is committed to the promotion of quality public services and to worker and union rights. We will seek to gain influence with government, political parties and others, both between elections and during elections to promote our views on these issues. During elections we will promote PSA policy to the political parties and inform members about which parties’ policies best align with ours. This is an important contribution to the democratic process and essential if we are to be effective on members’ behalf.

Promoting quality public services

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 advocates for quality public services and for those who deliver them in often difficult circumstances. Given the high levels of media interest in how public money is spent, and how well public services perform, the PSA and its members are often in the news. 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.

PSA activities and campaigns

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. PSA members may become involved in some of these activities, usually through campaigns or by being asked to represent the union on a working group (the PSA has expectations of how these representatives will work . 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.

PSA and the media

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:

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.