20 Sep 2023

WorkSafe expected to cut more than 100 jobs

6:40 pm on 20 September 2023
Worksafe HQ in Wellington Central

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

RNZ understands WorkSafe is poised to announce that up to 120 jobs are going or roles being disestablished.

Staff were warned by its leadership a few months ago of a sinking lid.

Since then the agency appears to have sunk further into a deficit amounting to more than $15 million.

An announcement from the agency is expected as early as tomorrow.

It earlier told staff that frontline jobs like workplace inspectors would not be cut, but that entire work programmes might have to cease.

WorkSafe has been struggling, too, with the multiple dismissal of charges it laid over the Whakaari / White Island tragedy.

Public sector union Public Service Association said it was pushing WorkSafe to reverse what it called a "step in the wrong direction".

"This is the time to keep investing in workplace safety, not cutting back," it said in a statement.

WorkSafe has been approached for comment.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Carmel Sepuloni last month told RNZ staffing was an operational matter for WorkSafe.

The government at Budget time, and again, more recently directed public agencies to find big savings.

In the election campaign, the National and ACT parties have taken aim at what they have said was wasteful spending in the public sector.

ACT leader David Seymour wants to make 15,000 public servants redundant "as fast as possible".

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