PSA to challenge change in bio-security job rules

Grant Robertson

The government's plan to amend some provisions of law dealing with Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) border bio-security staff has initiated a controversy with the PSA set to pose a legal challenge to the government.

Labour's State Services spokesperson Grant Robertson said: "National's promise to cap not cut public sector jobs and move resources from the backroom to the frontline has again been ousted as pure political spin."

MAF had announced redundancies due to decline in trade and travel activities, trimming 60 jobs of bio-security staff responsible for the protection of the multi-billion dollar agriculture sector from pests and diseases.

The concerned minister, Ms Morrissey, said that the government would retain some workers as bio-security officers in the cargo and passenger operations based on workloads at different locations. However, Richard Wagstaff, of the National Secretary of Public Service Association, said that workers are being forced to accept cut in working hours that can reduce their pay by $10,000 a year.

Wagstaff said: "It's unacceptable that bio-security workers at our regional ports are being forced to accept less pay and worse working conditions than other MAF Biosecurity staff doing the same work."