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Pay equity for care and support workers, time’s up! – E tu, PSA, and NZNO

Care and support workers across Aotearoa New Zealand are urgently calling for a new pay equity settlement, with their current agreement expiring tomorrow (31 December).

Over 65,000 workers who provide much needed care for groups like the elderly and disabled people are waiting for the Government to agree to and fund a new settlement, which recognises the value of their work.

E tū, the PSA, and NZNO have filed two pay equity claims, covering over 100 employers in the sector. While the unions and major employers have made good progress in establishing what new rates of pay should be, the Ministry of Health and Te Whatu Ora have delayed the process and now seek a full review before progressing.

Residential aged care worker and longtime E tū pay equity campaigner, Marianne Bishop, says it’s time for the Government to step up and fund pay equity properly.

“We have only had up to a 3% pay rise in the last year, with some of us getting nothing, despite the cost of living increasing so much more than that,” Marianne says.

“Everyone is really struggling, especially our colleagues in home support who have to cover their own vehicle costs and other expenses. It’s high time the Government came to the table.”

E tū Assistant National Secretary, Annie Newman, agrees.

“We won the Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Act under the last National Government, after years of campaigning and taking successful legal cases. This provided a huge increase for most of the workers in the sector,” Annie says.

“However, that was more than six years ago. Care and support workers need a new deal that truly recognises the essential work they do for our communities.”

PSA National Secretary, Kerry Davies, says workers deserve certainty around their jobs.

“We will now enter a period of limbo, with the expired settlement meaning no guarantees of decent wages and conditions for care and support workers,” Kerry says.

“That’s not good enough for tens of thousands of workers who provide essential health and social services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We need care and support workers to be treated properly, in order to maintain a vital service. People relying on these essential services deserve this work to be prioritised.”

NZNO Industrial Services Manager, Glenda Alexander, says the future of the sector is at stake.

“We need properly paid and properly trained support workers to help the sector thrive,” Glenda says.

“With our ageing workforce and ageing population, there is a real risk that without the right investment in people, we won’t be able to attract and retain the talent needed for this important work.”

 

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