The year of protest

The campaign against the State Sector Bill in 1987 marked one of the most intense periods of PSA activity in recent times. There were combined public and state sector protests around the country

The PSA Journal  at the time reported :
“Over 15,000 PSA members from 16 centres rallied earlier this month to oppose key aspects of the Government’s state sector policies.
Thousands turned out in the large cities but protest activity was not confined to the large population centres.  In Masterton over 300 told the Government of their concerns. Even in towns as small as Kaikohe and Kaitaia protest meetings were held.

In all 16 centres, resolutions were passed demanding fair relativity with private sector wage rates, negotiations on proposed changes to state pay fixing legislation and calling on the Government to maintain and protect services to the public.

PSA president Colin Hicks attended most of the rallies. He was enormously impressed with what he saw and heard. He describes the protests variously as determined, resolute, buoyant.


“The rallies were an enormous success,” Hicks says. “They demonstrated an extremely broad-based determination to make sure that state workers did not have to carry an excessive burden of economic adjustment.” He takes two lessons from the rallies. The first is that they were an important factor in obtaining an  AGA[ annual general adjustment  of 7 percent]. “

I have no doubt that the high level of activity by state workers throughout the country and in all divisions of the state sector have made the Government aware that extreme positions would not be tolerated. It forced the Government to adopt a more reasonable position in its dealings with those it employs.”

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