Put plans on hold, PSA tells institute

Public Service Association union members are urging AgResearch to put its Future Footprint plans on hold and rework the proposal with ''good levels'' of genuine community, stakeholder, staff and union engagement.

Future Footprint is a $100 million restructuring plan aimed at improving and modernising AgResearch's facilities, allowing staff to contribute to New Zealand's economic growth.

Much of the plan would be funded through the disposal of under-utilised assets, which would result in the loss of about 80 jobs from Invermay.

PSA assistant secretary Jeff Osborne said the association had 60 union members working at Invermay.

The union believed the progression of Future Footprint, as it stood, carried undue risk to the future of AgResearch and its members, he said.

''We note that Future Footprint implementation is a long-term one - over several years.

''Therefore, we consider a genuine reassessment will not unduly inhibit the production of quality outcomes over a reasonable length of time. It will, in fact, enhance those outcomes.''

Mr Osborne said members' key issues were AgResearch maintaining its reputation as a strong research organisation; protecting customer and stakeholder relationships; recognising the individual needs of staff and their families; the physical and mental wellbeing of members; and the need for smooth, transparent, well-communicated implementation of changes.

Mr Osborne said the PSA would hold meetings with its members in the next two weeks to collate their opinions about Future Footprint, before meeting AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson to discuss the issues.

''We're looking forward to a discussion with him, so we can discuss our proposal.

''It's just to say our members fully back AgResearch, they fully back the jobs they are doing, they want the organisation to be well respected by its clients and by their communities, and they just want to be able to work with their employer to do that.''

It was hoped the discussion with Dr Richardson could take place as part of a national PSA meeting of delegates next month.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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