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Union Backs Mediation To Avoid Richmond Strike

Union Agrees To Mediation in Attempt To Avert Strike In Richmond Fellowship

The National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) has agreed to a Department of Labour offer to attend mediation to try and avert a threatened 48 hour strike on 12 & 13 June in private mental health provider Richmond Fellowship.

“As a responsible union we have agreed to get round the table with the employer in an attempt to avert strike action. We’ve been negotiating with Richmond Fellowship since before Christmas, claiming a $15 per hour base rate plus weekend and shift allowances. To date, the employer has made no offer on pay.” said NUPE Organiser John Kerr.

“Together with our sister union the Service and Food Workers’ Union, we undertook strike action last month but last minute talks with the employer yielded no pay offer. The Chief Executive of Richmond Fellowship, Dr Gerry Walmisley has turned down our offers to meet and has taken a Pontius Pilate approach. We find we are talking to a negotiating team that has very little delegated authority, accordingly we issued notice of further strike action and at that point the Department of Labour intervened and offered mediation ” said John Kerr.

“We have around 100 members in Richmond Fellowship, about 90% of the coal face workers in Christchurch, who look after some of the most challenging and vulnerable people in our society and they’re paid as little as $11 per hour. We’ve heard a lot about Kiwi battlers struggling to make ends meet in recent weeks and, to our members, it seems Richmond Fellowship is part of the problem, not the solution”, said John Kerr.

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