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PSA: MAF Risking Biosecurity By Cutting Jobs And Pay And Conditions

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
PSA: MAF Risking Biosecurity By Cutting Jobs And Pay And Conditions

The Public Service Association is alarmed that MAF Biosecurity is cutting jobs and the pay of conditions of staff who work to prevent pests and diseases, that could decimate New Zealand's economy, from entering the country.*

In July, MAF Biosecurity announced a review of its border operations and proposed cutting around 60 jobs - by disestablishing 30 vacant positions and cutting 30 filled positions.

MAF Biosecurity has now completed its review of border operations and is cutting 55 jobs (54 full time and one 0.6 part time job). 34 of the jobs are vacant and 21 are filled positions.

"We're strongly opposed to the job cuts and a move by MAF Biosecurity to cut the pay and conditions of its staff providing biosecurity at regional ports," says PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff.

"We believe these cuts in pay and conditions are unlawful and will be mounting a legal challenge."'

"Our agriculture industry would be devastated if a disease like foot and mouth entered the country and

a pest like fruit fly would have a major impact on our fruit and vegetable industries."

"It's crucial to our economy that these job cuts don't weaken our defences in this area," says Richard Wagstaff.

MAF Bisosecurity says the cuts are a response to a fall in trade and travel due to the recession.

"What will happen when trade and travel rises? Is MAF Biosecurity going to reverse the job cuts or will our biosecurity be undermined by having fewer staff carrying a rising workload? asks Richard Wagstaff.

"We say these cut are driven more by the government's agenda of cutting the public service than by demand for services."

"The government cut baseline funding for MAF Biosecurity in the Budget by $1.9 million and as a consequence we're seeing a cut in jobs and cuts in pay and conditions for regional port staff."

"The regional port workers are being told if they want to keep their jobs they'll have to accept a cut in working conditions - such as overtime payments for weekend work - that will see their pay cut by an average of $10,000 a year."

"It's unacceptable that biosecurity 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."

"It's unacceptable that workers providing a 24 hour a day, seven day a week biosecurity service to protect our economy are being told to take a pay cut to keep their jobs," says Richard Wagstaff.

*MAF Biosecurity states on its website that if foot and mouth reached New Zealand virtually all exports of meat, animal by-products and dairy products would stop. They would not resume until at least three months after the slaughter of the last infected animal. The country's trade reputation would be damaged, unemployment would rise by about 20,000 and gross domestic product would be cut by $10 billion over a two year period

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