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Aged Care Workers Snake The Street

Aged Care Workers Snake The Street

Registered nurses, care-givers and support staff from Tararu Rest Home and Hospital have come up with a novel way of drawing attention to their plight.

Tomorrow (Thursday 6th October) they will be snaking the footpath of main street Thames single file … with one line travelling in one direction and another line in the opposite direction … bearing a message.

Each worker will have a sheet of A4 pinned to her front which says, “WE CARE”, and on her back another sheet of A4 proclaiming “GUARDIAN DOESN’T”.

Guardian Healthcare is their employer, and along with nearly 600 staff from twenty rest homes and hospitals owned by the Guardian Healthcare Group throughout New Zealand, they are walking off the job tomorrow in a planned 24 hour strike from 7am Thursday to 7am Friday.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokesperson Jane Kostanich said mediation had failed to settle the dispute, despite industrial action taken last week (a nationwide six hour strike and rally in Auckland’s Aotea Square) with busloads of union members also picketing Guardian’s head office in Porirua and various Guardian sites around the rest of the North and South Islands.

A leaflet the Tararu aged care workers are handing out on main street explains, “Everyday as we strive to provide the loving care and support every resident of Tararu Rest Home and Hospital deserves, we must draw on the spirit of kindness within us. Sadly, this spirit of kindness and caring has not been extended to us by Guardian. Our wages are amongst the lowest in the community, with caregivers typically paid $11 or less an hour. And registered nurses working for Guardian have not seen the pay increases recently granted to all nurses in public hospitals throughout New Zealand.”

The unions are claiming a minimum of $11 and maximum of $14 for caregivers, and a minimum of $17.60 and maximum of $23.50 for registered nurses per hour.

Outside Payless Plastics, shoppers will be urged to sign a petition of support, and the striking workers will also have a presence at Thursday’s “Celebration For The Older Person” at Thames Civic Centre, providing a speaker and helping to serve lunch.

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