24 03 06
Increase makes a difference but hospital wages are still unhealthy
On Monday Public Hospital service workers will be celebrating an increase in the statutory minimum wage by picketing the Wellington offices of contractor Spotless Services to protest the low wages paid to their hospital-based employees.
The service workers, members of the Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota, are campaigning to combine their 47 public hospital employment agreements into one national public hospital collective employment agreement.
“Spotless is the biggest contractor in New Zealand public hospitals and is making large profits on the backs of very low-paid cleaners, orderlies and food service workers,” said Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary John Ryall.
“While Spotless workers in the Whanganui, Hawkes Bay and South Canterbury District Health Boards are celebrating 27 March as the day that their pay will increase up to $10.25 an hour, it is sad that state sector employees have to rely on movements in the minimum wage to get a pay increase,” said John Ryall.
“We applaud the increase in the statutory minimum wage but want the ‘sick’ wage rates paid in some hospitals to be ‘cured’. Paying minimum wage to essential workers in our public hospitals is a symptom of an unhealthy system.”
“The Union calls on Spotless, the District Health Boards and the Government to give their commitment to a living wage based on one national collective agreement for hospital service workers,” said John Ryall.