MBIE calls on staff again to apply for voluntary redundancies

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment is calling out to its staff again to apply for voluntary redundancy in a cost-cutting effort.

It came the same day the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Health proposed cutting more than 400 jobs to reach budget reductions.

MBIE, like other government departments, was trying to reach the same goal.

It had already accepted 111 applications for voluntary redundancy and said these positions would be ending. Staff would be leaving on 31 March.

In an email to staff on Thursday, MBIE chief executive Carolyn Tremain said it was extending the offer of voluntary redundancy to departments which were previously not included in the process.

Tremain said in the email that she joined a webinar on Thursday morning with staff from LSE (Labour, Science and Enterprise), BRM (Building, Resources and Markets), Kānoa, and Te Waka Pūtahitanga, and said the ministry was “offering to most roles, a voluntary redundancy process”.

“The dynamic nature of MBIE and the work that we have supported over recent years means that we are no strangers to change,” Tremain later said.

“The information we have announced today will affect people differently. Please be kind to yourselves and each other and reach out for support through the offerings available to you at MBIE.”

A employee at MBIE, who wanted to remain anonymous, said about 900 people were in the webinar.

The ministry’s deputy secretary of corporate services, finance and enablement Richard Griffiths said it has also slashed some costs because of stop-work notices and because it had been “systematically disestablishing vacant positions and have a pause on external recruitment”.

Included in these cuts, Griffiths said, were six positions from the cancelled Lake Onslow battery project, 25 related to the Construction Sector Accord ITP, and 46 connected to the Regional Skills Leadership Group.

“In addition, since 1 July 2023, to reduce the reliance on contractors and consultants, we have transferred 70.7 contractors to permanent or fixed term positions,” he added.

While MBIE did not specify how many more staff it would need to be made redundant to meet the cost cuts, the anonymous employee RNZ spoke to said the voluntary redundancies likely would not be enough.

“Once they have gone through that voluntary redundancy process, they will then decide next steps about whether they proceed with further involuntary redundancies … I got the implication that it’s likely that there is just going to be more cuts needed,” they said.

The reductions would not target the approximately 68 percent of frontline compliance roles which MBIE has a legal obligation to uphold, they said.

“No indication was given on the scale of head count reduction or cost savings that they were looking to achieve through this exercise, and that was one of the things that I found quite challenging about it.

“That was signalling that the cuts could be significant and it could be more than the average 7.5 percent cuts that are being made across the public service.”

They told RNZ the latest applications for voluntary redundancies opened on 25 March and closed on 9 April.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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