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Union to appeal ERA ruling - Tells Members to Let it Burn

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

An Employment Court appeal has been lodged against a decision of the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) which rejected a claim of unjustified dismissal by an Oranga Tamariki Youth Worker who was employed at Te Puna Wai o Tuhinapo (Youth Justice Residence Christchurch)

"This decision is another kick in the guts to go with the actual kicking received by yet another front-line worker" says Janice Gemmell, Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) which represents workers across Oranga Tamariki. "Staff are regularly harmed, abused, spat at, and assaulted by the young people they are tasked to care for."

"Staff are left vulnerable with managers touting a philosophical view of no consequences for violent or abusive behaviour because the Young People have experienced trauma. NUPE will not sit silent while our members are being assaulted and hurt at work. We want our members safe, and we expect their employer Oranga Tamariki to prioritise staff safety."

As a result of the ERA decision, NUPE is meeting urgently with members across Residences and Houses in the community.

"Oranga Tamariki are telling staff to walk away and not challenge when a young person is abusing staff or smashing property. NUPE has therefore no choice "we are telling staff to put themselves first and if need be, let the whole place burn"

"The pendulum has swung too far" says Janice Gemmell. "Oranga Tamariki and the Minister need to restore the control of the Residences and Homes in the community to the staff. At the moment - The kids are running the lolly scramble and someone’s going to choke"

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