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).