The Government is facing an enormous amount of backlash over its decision to freeze public sector wages and unions are demanding ministers come to the negotiation table and act in "good faith".
Union leaders are gearing up to meet key ministers, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, to attempt to reverse the changes.
"Don't expect us to take this lying down," CTU President Richard Wagstaff told the Herald.
But Finance Minister Grant Robertson is standing by the Government's decision, saying it is about reducing inequality and the Government's priority lies with those on the lowest incomes.
Yesterday, the Government revealed public sector workers earning more than $60,000 could only expect pay increases in "exceptional circumstances".
The move also means those on more than $100,000 won't get a cent more over the next three years.
The decision appeared to blindside many in the public sector.
Although the issue had been discussed at top levels, it is understood some at a leadership level were only given a heads up on the pay freeze element of the announcement a day before it was made.
In an open letter to Public Services Minister Chris Hipkins, the public sector union – the PSA – has a strong message to the Government: "Your pay restrictions at this time are unacceptable".
The letter says the freeze shows the Government does not value the public service workers who helped New Zealand through the pandemic.
It sends a clear message to workers that: "They are not valued and that they are welcome to take their skills elsewhere. They may do so".
This comes as the Green Party has launched a petition calling for the Government to reverse its decision.
"[Public sector workers] deserve our thanks, not suppressed, stagnating wages, particularly as the cost of living increases," the party said.
PSA leadership is meeting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday and will bring up a number of issues, including rates of pay for workers.
"We will be pursuing pay increases and improvements to our members' collective agreements," national secretaries Erin Polaczuk and Kerry Davies said in the open letter.
Wagstaff was highly critical of the pay freeze and how it had been handled by the Government.
"[Public servants] have gone beyond the call of duty," he said, in respect to stepping up over lockdown and the wider pandemic.
"It was a most unwelcome announcement by the Government," he said, adding it had gone down badly with union members.
He said the CTU would be fighting the Government on its decision.
"Don't expect us to take this lying down."
He said union representatives would meet ministers and tell them they expect them to bargain "in good faith".
"We will not be accepting this. We won't be accepting a pre-determined announcement by the Government".
Speaking to MPs in the House yesterday, Robertson said the Government's focus in public sector pay was on the lowest income earners.
"Especially the 25 per cent of public servants who earn below $60,000.
"If we want to reduce inequality, that is where our priority should sit when it comes to public sector pay increases."