CTU Media Release
Sunday 9 December 2007
Health Care Providers want money and the bag
“Aged Care workers around the country today will be calling on DHBs and government to fix up processes in the contracting of aged care services so that progress on low wages in the sector can continue to be made,” Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said today.
The High Court yesterday released its decision following a challenge some aged care providers made to being required by DHBs to use new money from government to increase workers’ wages.
“While the Court found some of the processes followed by the DHBs in reaching this decision were faulty, the good news is that it found that the DHBs’ attempts to increase the wages of some of the country’s lowest paid workers could be justified as means of improving health outcomes, and would be lawful following a correct process,” Helen Kelly said.
“It is disappointing then that on a technicality, providers will be able to avoid increasing wages in the short term, and in these circumstances the only honorable thing is for these business people to hand back the money until this issue is sorted out.”
Helen Kelly said that many good health care providers had committed to improving outcomes for the people they cared for by investing in their workforce, and that in these facilities wages had increased as required.
“That a group has chosen to spend thousands of dollars avoiding making this same investment in their workforce while at the same time accepting the additional government money is something they should be ashamed of,” she said.
Helen Kelly urged families with family members in aged care facilities to check if new money targeted for workers had been passed on in the full amount. She said they could do this by talking to the workers in the facilities and by contacting the unions in the sector.
“All families know that the quality of the care older people receive relies totally on the commitment and quality of the workforce looking after them. The commitment of the workforce requires a commitment by the employer as well,” she said.