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Workplace culture needs change: PSA

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/11/2016

The country's public servants are hard-working, motivated and resilient, but being failed by a workplace culture which doesn't recognise their strengths, their union says.

The Public Service Association's conclusion comes out of the results of Workplace Dynamics Survey 2016, which was conducted with Victoria University.

The PSA says the survey is the largest involving New Zealand workers, with more than 14,000 employees from the public service, district health boards and the community public sector responding.

Nearly 90 per cent of survey participants said they did their best regardless of difficulties.

But more than half didn't believe they were paid fairly, and many had not had a promotion in the past 10 years.

PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk said those figures confirmed what the union already knew.

"Our members are amazing people who are deeply committed to their jobs," she said.

"But unfortunately, it also confirms they're underpaid and undervalued."

She said the PSA also believed workplace culture needed attention, with some front-line staff reporting a high incidence of upsetting behaviour in their jobs.

More than 40 per cent of respondents said they had been verbally abused by a client in the past year, with call centre staff, inspectors and regulators, and social workers at particular risk.

Ms Polaczuk said this and continued reports of covert bullying were a concern.

"We believe these findings may be echoed in many other Kiwi workplaces," she said.

"We need to start talking about New Zealand's workplace culture, and the public sector should lead by example."

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