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Who cares about those who care?

11 03 05

Who cares about those who care? Caregivers Week 14th – 18th March 2005

Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) members who work in Aged Care facilities around New Zealand will be joining with their fellow union members in the NZ Nurses Organisation (NZNO) to celebrate Caregivers Week from Monday 14th to the Friday 18th of March.

This week, Aged Care workers will be sending their payslips in to the Associate Minister of Health, Pete Hodgson, to let him know that the current crisis in Aged Care affects them and to show what they have to live on. New Zealanders respect and appreciate the work done by Aged Care workers, and know that they deserve higher wages.
SFWU members work in rest-homes and residential hospitals around New Zealand as Caregivers, kitchen staff, laundry staff, cleaners and many other service positions.

Darryl works in an Auckland Aged Care facility and gave up his $30 an hour job in the corporate world to do a meaningful job in Aged Care. Despite completing three qualifications in the sector and having four years experience, Darryl’s pay rate has moved only $1.38 from his original rate of $10.20 an hour.

“People don’t want to work in Aged Care because the hours are irregular, it’s stressful because of short staffing, and the pay is low. We don’t even get cost of living increases to cover things like petrol price increases.” says Caregiver and SFWU member Darryl.

“It’s time we started looking at how we treat those who look after the older people in our society – they don’t deserve to be treated this way" says Darien Fenton, SFWU National Secretary.

"Government needs to step in with a substantial funding increase targeted towards improving the pay and training of caregivers, to make up for years of under-funding and undervaluing of these workers".

“When the worker looking after your Gran is getting paid less than the people looking after the animals in the zoo, we have to ask how much society actually values the work that caregivers do.” she said.

“Many SFWU members working in Aged Care stay in the industry because of the closeness they feel for the residents. But the truth is that with pay so low, our members' compassion and care for their residents is subsidising the under-funded care of older adults in our society. Urgent action is needed."


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