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Strike looming at Palmerston North hospital – workers demand equity
Spotless Services workers are taking industrial action at the Palmerston North hospital in April to protest the low wage rates for workers.
SFWU Nga Ringa Tota Union members will picket the hospital on Tuesday (5th April) at 12.00am, and take strike action from the 18th April onwards.
“Most workers who work as cleaners, orderlies and Kitchen staff at Mid Central Health hospital have only been offered a 3.0 % wage increase in recent negotiations with the employer, Spotless Services, which is about a 0% increase when inflation is accounted for.” says SFWU Organiser Thomas O’Neill.
“Some of Spotless’s lowest paid workers are paid less than $10.00 an hour and negotiations have seen an offer to bring up these starting rates, but they still fall far short of what other hospitals are paying. The majority of staff want a much better increase than the 3.0% that’s on offer.” Mr O’Neill said.
The SFWU is also petitioning the District Health Board over the poor conditions offered by contractors at the hospital. The union wants the DHB to address this issue by ensuring that its contactors are being ‘good employers’ and remunerating in accordance with the wider hospital environment.
“Workers deserve better in a time when the Mid Central DHB budget is on target and in a financially strong position. We want to see publicly funded hospitals run for people not for profits” Mr O’Neill said.
Examples of the disparity between the lowest paid Spotless staff at Mid Central Health and other hospitals:
Cleaners at Wellington Hospital are paid 91c per hour more than at Palmerston North. At Hutt Hospital cleaners are paid $1.25 more per hour.
Orderlies at Wellington are paid 96c more, and at Hutt Hospital, 36c more. Kitchen Hands in Wellington get $1.12 more.