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Tararu Snake Returns

Tuesday 11th Oct 2005

Tararu Snake Returns

Spurred on by community support from their protest last week, registered nurses, care-givers and support staff from Tararu Rest Home and Hospital will tomorrow return to Thames’ main street with their snake.

Last week, in conjunction with a 24 hour strike involving more than 500 staff at 21 Guardian Healthcare rest homes throughout New Zealand, the Tararu workers snaked the footpath of Thames main street with signs saying “WE CARE” pinned to their fronts and “GUARDIAN DON’T” to their backs.

The Australian-owned Guardian Healthcare Group is refusing to agree to the claims of the two unions representing the workers (the NZ Nurses Organisation, and the Service and food Workers Union). The unions are asking for 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.

A leaflet from the workers explains that the spirit of kindness and caring, so essential to their work with the aged, has not been extended to them by Guardian. Their 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.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokesperson Jane Kostanich says, “We were not impressed by Guardian’s statement last week on national radio that the company had no intention of sharing it’s profits with its workers. Their claim that government under funding meant they couldn’t afford to offer their aged care workers more than 2% is disingenuous”.

According to Tararu workers union representative Denise Davis, “Tomorrow the snake will have a few more twists. It will emerge at lunchtime in main street, mainly at pedestrian crossings. And alongside the petition of support outside Payless Plastics we are also taking donations for the NZNO “striking fund’ to assist workers suffering increased financial hardship from wages lost during the strikes.” The fund will accept cash donations from the public or pledges of goods from local businesses.

WHEN ? Wednesday 12TH October 12 noon – 2pm
WHERE ? Pollen Street Thames


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