News from PSA
The Public Service Association is stunned that the Ministry of Education has released a review aimed at scaling down its Wellington-based payroll services unit in the midst of the Novopay debacle.
The Ministry has put out a restructuring proposal to staff in the unit which will see the number of Wellington positions reduced from 23 to 14. It claims the staff will not be needed once Novopay is operating smoothly.
“The timing of this beggar’s belief,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott. “Everyone knows that the Novopay system has been a debacle and with the magnitude of the problems, who knows when it will be properly up and running.”
“The staff in the payroll unit have been putting in long, stressful hours working alongside Novopay trying to pick up the pieces. In the face of all this they’re now being told they’re facing a major restructure and a proposal which will see jobs being disestablished from March next year.”
Staff have only been given a two week consultation period to respond to the proposal.
Brenda Pilott says while payroll staff knew that a review was likely at some stage, they have been completely blind-sided by the insensitivity of the timing.
“They feel that their focus on trying to sort out Novopay, especially in the lead-up to the Christmas pay period, will compromise their ability to take part in the review process.”
“The Ministry needs to acknowledge the context of this review and delay it,” she says.
Statement from NZ Labour Party
Claims by Associate Education Minister Craig Foss that he is “utterly flabbergasted” by revelations the Ministry of Education is planning to restructure its Payroll Services Unit clearly demonstrate he isn’t in control of his own portfolio, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“With staff up and down the country still being paid incorrectly, and some not being paid at all, it simply defies belief that the Ministry would begin a restructure involving the very staff tasked with fixing the mess. And those waiting for their pay will rightly be outraged when they learn the Minister in charge doesn’t seem to know anything about it.
“Like Hekia Parata, whose handling of the portfolio has also been less than capable, Craig Foss receives a handsome six-figure salary to oversee these officials, yet he seems to have no idea what they’re getting up to.
“He was the person who signed off on the implementation of Novopay and he has failed miserably to take control of the ensuing debacle. If John Key is not seriously questioning whether Mr Foss has the skills to sort things out, then he should be.
“The buck stops with the Minister. Craig Foss can’t keep dodging around the issue. His hands-off approach has contributed to this shambles and he needs to front up and start taking charge.
“Those waiting to be paid want to know someone in government is taking control. If Craig Foss isn’t up to the job he should step aside and hand it over to someone who is,” Chris Hipkins said.