New Zealand Law Society - Court work hit further as union votes for increased action

Court work hit further as union votes for increased action

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

Work involving AVL, and that which involves any event or hearing relating to sentencing will be affected as the union representing court staff extend the work-to-rule and other bans as its increasingly bitter dispute with the Ministry of Justice drags into a second month.

The Public Service Association (PSA) says its members at the ministry have voted to continue work-to-rule alongside a new set of bans on work that could see court operations “creak to a virtual halt”.

“We are now into the second month of industrial action by PSA members at the Ministry of Justice for fairer pay and conditions, and if anything the situation is continuing to deteriorate,” says Glenn Barclay, PSA national secretary.

“The current stalemate is occurring because the ministry has made no concrete response whatsoever on bringing an improved pay offer to the table to enable bargaining to resume.

“We will continue to pursue the open discussions needed to reach a settlement before Christmas.”

New actions coming into effect, with immediate effect during the week and that are also being actioned until Friday 7 December include bans on:  

  • Work involving audio visual links (AVL) – except for matters involving vulnerable witnesses,
  • Involvement in any event or hearing involving sentencing – except for matters involving vulnerable victims,
  • All collection tasks – except for receiving payments and answering queries,
  • Completing Financial Assessment Hearings and Assessments of Financial Means,

Other bans with high impact are expected to highlight the value of specific occupational groups such as a bailiffs’ ban on entering data on fines and civil matters to a MoJ database.

The PSA says more work bans are expected to be introduced next week. In addition, since the first nationwide strike and rallies on 19 September, there have been more than a dozen lightning strikes held at courts and other MoJ work sites around New Zealand, including a half-day nationwide strike action held on Wednesday.