Bullying ministers need to stop improper interference

Posted By TEU on Sep 3, 2009 |

It is outrageous that senior government ministers are undermining good faith employment negotiations says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.

Ms Riggs was responding to news that State Services Minister Tony Ryall and Tertiary Education Minister Anne Tolley have been summoning the chief executives of polytechnics that are engaged in employment negotiations to their offices.

“It is bullying behaviour to summon CEOs to explain themselves in the middle of negotiations and then send them away with the impression that an agreement they have reached with their own staff is unacceptable.”

“Ministers Tolley and Ryall need to make it publicly clear that that they will stick to their own cabinet guidelines and allow polytechnic chief executives to do their legally prescribed job.”

Section 3.16 of the cabinet manual says that ministers should also take care to ensure that their actions could not be construed as improper intervention in operational, or contractual decisions that are the responsibility of the chief executive, and also” that ministers should take care to ensure that their intentions are not misunderstood, and that they do not inappropriately influence officials, or involve themselves in matters that are not their responsibility.

“Staff at Otago Polytechnic are working constructively with their chief executive to negotiate a fair employment agreement in tough times.”  It’s improper and unfair to have a minister interfering or even giving the impression of political interference in those negotiations,” says Ms Riggs.

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