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Budget Needs to Recognise Caregivers

18 May 2004

Budget Needs to Recognise Caregivers

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) want more money for caregivers and support workers in this month’s budget.

On Wednesday afternoon (May 19th) union delegates from NZNO and the SFWU will present the Associate Minister of Health, the Hon Ruth Dyson, with a petition calling on the Government to ensure adequate funding in this year’s budget for caregivers and support workers.

NZNO and SFWU have been campaigning for over two years for a training qualification and an associated pay increase for caregivers and support workers when they acquire the qualification. “We want to see Government support this initiative by providing extra funding that is tagged for training”, says NZNO union health spokesperson, Cee Payne-Harker.

“Caregivers and support workers are among the lowest paid workers in the workforce. Many thousands of experienced workers in this sector are on wages of between $9.00 and $11.00 an hour. As well, caregivers and support workers don’t have accessible and affordable training opportunities.

“A fairly paid and appropriately trained workforce assures quality of care. International research to support this linkage is strengthening all the time. It is no accident that quality care in the health sector is at risk”, says Payne-Harker.

Given the Government’s stated commitment to pay equity and to the income needs of low wage-workers, the unions are calling for firm plans around training and a funding package for caregivers and support workers in this budget. “We acknowledge the work and support given by the Minister, Ruth Dyson to caregivers and support workers but we want to see that commitment and support translated into wider Government policy in this year’s budget”, said Cee Payne-Harker.


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