About 30 staff from the Whangārei branch of Inland Revenue Department joined their counterparts nationwide in taking industrial action for the second time.

Around 4000 Inland Revenue (IRD) and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) workers belonging to the Public Service Association (PSA) stopped work for two hours yesterday after talks over fairer pay broke down.

The first action on July 9 was the first IRD strike in 22 years.

Read more: Mike Hosking: Unions, strikes achieve nothing, drag NZ back to 1970s


The 30 IRD workers at yesterday's stoppage and street march represented just over half the staff employed in Whangārei, where all are PSA members.

There were no MBIE workers because none of the small local staff belongs to the union.

The strikers marched from the Bank St IRD offices, around the block to Laurie Hall Park.

"You're going to have to stand strong," Whangārei IRD staffer and national PSA delegate, Steve Bradley told the strikers.

''We're going to have to do a little more to make our point.''

He said their employers had told PSA officials and delegates last week that "two hours were not going to hurt"', referring to the short strike periods.

Bradley said the PSA members would receive another ballot in the next few days on whether to strike again on August 1.

Whangārei PSA organiser Mark Furey congratulated the workers on their courage. He said it was hard for a small group of workers to go public as they had.

Auckland PSA official Nora Cook, who was in Whangārei yesterday, said the employers were out of touch with the concept of ''fair pay''.

''We want you to know all the PSA is behind you. It's not much to ask an employer to bargain in good faith,'' she told the strikers.

In May, the Government announced that about 2000 of the lowest-paid public servants would move up to the 2018 living wage of at least $20.55 an hour.

The new hourly rate would cost an estimated $7.23 million for a one-off adjustment by September 1.