19 Dec 2013

AgResearch critical of PSA over restructuring survey

6:26 am on 19 December 2013

AgResearch has criticised the Public Service Association for releasing the results of a staff survey about its campus restructuring plans.

The Crown Research Institute is proposing to move about 250 of its staff from its sites at Hamilton and Invermay near Dunedin to expand its bases at Palmerston North and Lincoln.

The PSA says a survey of its members at AgResearch shows one third of those asked to move will leave and seek employment elsewhere while a further 10% indicated they would retire. Only 1% indicated they are happy to move.

However, AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson says the survey is misleading because fewer than a quarter of the staff took part and the union is out of line in making it public.

He says the organisation worked with the PSA to do a snapshot survey in the days after the announcement on the understanding that it would give staff the chance to express confidentially how they were feeling.

Dr Richardson says AgResearch agreed with the PSA that asking staff for a response so soon after the final announcements and before there were any relocation packages would not give an accurate picture of staff intentions to relocate.

But he says it was an opportunity for staff to express to management and the union how they were feeling and it was agreed to work with the PSA on the responses, that that would be done internally and that it wouldn't be released until it had been worked through with staff.

Dr Richardson says the union went against that agreement and a number of PSA members at AgResearch have resigned from the union as a result.