Tauranga court staff have begun a "work to rule" action following today's strike for a better pay deal.
Up to 55 staff from Tauranga and Rotorua courts who belong to the Public Service Association joined the nationwide two-hour strike for a better pay deal from the Ministry of Justice, particularly for female workers.
Picketing outside Tauranga courthouse, the striking staff, which included court security officers, waved placards with messages such as "Show Us Some Respect", "No Gender Pay Gap" and "Toot 4 Support".
Following the strike, the court staff yesterday began a "work to rule" action lasting until October 19, which includes an overtime ban, only working contracted hours and taking common breaks.
The PSA said "fairer pay" negotiations with the ministry stalled and a pay increase offer of 5 per cent over two years was rejected.
Striking staff said they were buoyed by the number of toots of support they got from passing motorists and members of the public.
Tauranga High Court deputy registrar and PSA site delegate Leah Wills, holding a "Where's the Justice" sign, said she and other staff had reluctantly chosen to strike.
"We have been trying to negotiate a fairer pay system with the Ministry for several months without success. All we want is a fairer pay offer and fairer transition to the new pay scales, as well as a modest cost of living pay increase," she said.
"We need the Ministry to show us that we are truly valued for all the hard work we do to keep our court system running and come back with a more reasonable offer."
Wills said the striking members were not only concerned about fairer pay and conditions for current staff but for future PSA members and new staff.
Another Tauranga court staff member, who did not want to be named, said she was striking for the first time after a decade working for the Ministry.
"We certainly don't want to impinge on the rights of any public but at the same time, court staff also have rights to take industrial action to get a fairer pay system so we can afford to support ourselves and our families," she said.
"The Ministry's current pay offer is just too low."
PSA national secretary Glenn Barclay earlier said meetings between the PSA's bargaining team and the ministry failed to get any fundamental movement in the pay offer.
He said the average female employee at the ministry is paid 15 per cent less than the average male worker, a larger gender pay gap than the average public sector department.
Justice Ministry chief executive Andrew Bridgman said the Ministry and the PSA have been in contract negotiations for several months.
The Ministry has offered a 5 per cent pay increase over two years, in line with other Public Sector agreements, but the PSA has requested more than 13 per cent, he said.
"The Ministry remains open and committed to reaching a negotiated settlement and we're ready to meet at any time. "