14 March 2005
Aged Care Looks for Fair Share from Budget
Aged care workers are taking collective action for a fair share of Budget funding to improve care for older people and for better pay, training and staffing levels in the sector, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
The workers, who are members of the Service and Food Workers Union and the NZ Nurses Organisation, are this week sending their payslips to the associate Minister of Health, Pete Hodgson, to show him their low rate of pay.
“Dedicated caregivers working in rest homes, private hospitals, dementia units and in people’s homes do a job that is both physically tough and emotionally demanding,” Ross Wilson said. “Yet they get paid on average just $10.80 an hour in a sector where there are not enough workers to provide the quality care that elderly people deserve.”
Aged care services are funded by the Government, with financial contributions from elderly people accessing those services. An increase in Budget funding, targeted at improving the pay and training of caregivers, is essential to deal with pressing workforce shortages.
“Unions are campaigning for a fair share - in this case it’s about fairness for vulnerable low-paid workers as well as the elderly people they support,” Ross Wilson said.