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Fellowship & Union Unite In Call For More Funding

19 August 2005

Richmond Fellowship & Union Unite In Call For More Funding

New Zealand’s largest NGO provider of community based mental health services, Richmond Fellowship, is supportive of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) calls for more funding for community mental health services.

Richmond Fellowship and NUPE have been engaged in Collective Agreement negotiations during which the pay rates have become the central focus.

“NUPE is claiming a 30% pay increase for all health workers, including those in community mental health who work for Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs)”, said NUPE Organiser John Kerr.

“However, we are conscious that under current funding arrangements organisations like Richmond Fellowship receive the bulk of their funding from the government via contracts with district health boards, the Ministry of Health and departments like Child, Youth & Family. It’s clear to us that funding is inadequate to pay for the kind of wage increases that other health workers like nurses, doctors and laboratory workers have received”, said John Kerr.

Richmond Fellowship CEO Dr Gerry Walmisley says his organisation supports the call for more funding, “Richmond Fellowship values its employees who perform an essential role in community based mental health services.

Our preference is to reward staff based on individual performance but we do not currently receive a level of funding sufficient to enable us to pay our staff to the desired levels. We are also frustrated with the challenge of attracting and retaining staff who meet the requirements of an increasingly professional industry.”

“We are committed to continuing to address funding issues with major purchasers to enable us to reward staff at a level which reflects their competence and professionalism in the workplace”, said Dr Walmisley.

On its part, NUPE welcomes Richmond Fellowship’s support. “It’s clear to us that under funding is a problem for both the employer and staff. The government has to step in and fix the problem. Over three quarters of Richmond Fellowship’s front line employees are on $14 an hour or less. That’s not the fault of the employer, it’s the result of inadequate funding” said John Kerr.

ENDS

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