Wellington, May 12 NZPA - A "redeployment pool" of redundant public servants will be established to retain and redistribute talent, State Services Minister Tony Ryall announced today.
While written off by Labour as a "charade", Mr Ryall said the initiative was a practical one to try and match redundant state servants with other jobs in public services.
"We've developed a redeployment option in conjunction with the PSA (Public Service Association) to retain the skills and knowledge of experienced state servants."
Mr Ryall said while some departments were reducing staff numbers, others were increasing frontline services in response to government priorities.
He said all would have the opportunity to join the redeployment pool, but some would either choose not to, or would be unsuitable for available positions.
All departments were expected to consider offering any vacant or new positions to those in the pool.
"It will also look after the taxpayers' interests by reducing the cost of redundancy payments" Mr Ryall said.
PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said the union considered the initiative a positive one.
"We said departments and state agencies would be more effective in retaining skilled and experienced workers if they worked together when shedding staff, in response to the government budget reviews," Mr Wagstaff said.
"We'll be working with departments and state agencies to try and retain workers, because losing their skills and experience could undermine the delivery of essential public services."
However, more needed to be done as there would be a limited number of alternative positions available for those affected.
"This includes giving workers and employers in the public sector the choice of moving to a government subsidised nine-day fortnight, currently only available to businesses and staff in the private sector."
Mr Wagstaff said there was still considerable concern over the increasing number of jobs being cut in the public sector, particularly when demand for public services was increasing.
Meanwhile, Opposition State Services spokesperson Grant Robertson said the initiative was a case of "fiddling at the margins" with a vital public service.
"While this is a fine idea in principle, sadly all Tony Ryall is doing is shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic, when he should be ensuring New Zealanders are getting the services they need," Mr Robertson said.
Over 1000 public service jobs had already been lost and the redeployment strategy was another charade by the Government to fool the public into believing it was focused on services.
Many of the staff losing their jobs wouldn't be able to change careers to fit any new positions, Mr Robertson said.
Ministry of Social Welfare and Development job cuts were to be announced today, Prime Minister John Key said this morning.
But he would not confirm reports that 200 people would lose their positions.
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