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Hospital workers unite for a living wage

MEDIA RELEASE
01 05 06


Hospital workers unite for a living wage


Today over 2,500 cleaners, food service workers, orderlies and home support workers employed in public hospitals are voting to see if they want to be employed under one national employment agreement.

The Healthy Pay for Healthy Hospitals campaign seeks to combine the current 47 different employment agreements into one national agreement and give a living wage for all service workers in public hospitals, some of whom received a pay increase when the minimum wage was increased to $10.25 on March 27th.

“Service workers in public hospitals have chosen May Day, a significant day for workers internationally, to vote to join together and fight for a living wage,” said Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary, John Ryall.

“We believe a national agreement is the only way to ensure District Health Boards and contractors are consistent and fair to these workers” said John Ryall.

“Fifteen years of contracting out services and the erosion of many collective agreements into small weak bargaining units has left these workers behind.”

“Minimum wage in a state sector organisation like public hospitals is just not good enough”

“Service workers keep our hospitals healthy and want their essential role to be recognised and valued”said John Ryall.

SFWU Nga Ringa Tota members are voting in every District Health Board today.

ENDS

Media Fact Sheet – SFWU Nga Ringa Tota, 1st May 2006

Healthy Pay for Healthy Hospitals Campaign


- The campaign is for a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) for all service workers in public hospitals

- Service workers include: cleaners; orderlies; kitchen and food service workers; home support workers

- Employers of coverage under the proposed MECA include all 21 District Health Boards; Spotless Services Ltd; Compass Group; OCS

- DHBNZ has stated they will not recommend a MECA to their members

- The Employment Relations Act, includes a Code of Good Faith for Public Health Sector, requiring DHB’s to support collective bargaining, including MECA’s “where it is practical and reasonable to do so”. ERA schedule B clause 6(1)

- SFWU currently negotiate over 40 separate collective employment agreements (CEAs) with DHB’s &Contractors for service workers in public hospitals throughout NZ

- The campaign is also for a “living wage and a fair deal”

- Most of the service workers in public hospitals are women

- Some of our members are currently on minimum wagee

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