Here we go again – Government backflips on contractors promise at Education

PSA seeks legal advice on failure of Ministry to redeploy laid off staff

The PSA is urging the Ministry of Education to use existing specialist staff rather than hiring expensive contractors.

“It is just wrong that in the middle of an unprecedented series of jobs cuts the Ministry is hiring contractors instead of using the skills of those already on the Ministry payroll,” said Kerry Davies National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

RNZ reported this morning that an initial “contract opportunity” would be in teaching teachers to use the government-mandated “structured literacy” approach for teaching children to read.

“The Ministry has an obligation under the collective agreement to make best efforts to redeploy staff being laid off into these positions rather than hiring expensive contractors.

“For a government obsessed with cutting spending, it’s appalling that it thinks hiring contractors makes sense when people who can do that work are losing their jobs.”

The PSA is urgently seeking legal advice in this regard. The Ministry is proposing to lay off 755 staff including those in the Curriculum Centre who could do this work.

“How can the Minister of Education allow this to happen when the Government made so much noise about clamping down on contractors?” said Davies.

“We are just going back to the problems of the past when the taxpayer forked out millions on contractors while turning a blind eye to the damage this does to building the skills and expertise the Ministry needs for the long term.

“We saw that under the last National coalition government and history is repeating itself. We should be learning the lessons of the past.

“Like so many decisions across the public service, this is short sighted which will just end up costing taxpayers more.”

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