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More, Higher Paid Maintenance Staff – Not Cuts

More, Higher Paid Maintenance Staff – Not Cuts

“Pay cuts involved in a Canterbury District Health Board hospital maintenance staff proposal for change have angered workers who are calling for more trades and technical staff and a 30% catch up in pay,” said Martin Cooney, Organiser of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today.

He was commenting on the proposal to save $500,000 pa largely from cuts to on call payments to maintenance staff in the country’s biggest health board.

“Some staff face a cut of 25% to their take home pay as the Board proposes to bring in a 24/7 shift engineer system and drastically reduce the number of staff on call,” said Martin Cooney. “Given that the pay rates of health board trades staff are currently 30% behind the private sector, the cuts to take home pay will make it impossible to attract and retain staff.”

“The only good thing about the proposal is that the former proposed cuts to jobs have been displaced. In 2004, two plans at 11 or 24 cuts were proposed to save the money. However this proposal saves the money via pay cuts and will merely force the current staff to look elsewhere to get a decent wage.”

“This proposal will not work. The real need is to hire more staff to make up the backlog of maintenance and to pay them rates competitive with the private sector,” said Martin Cooney.

“The anger of staff is surely understandable when they see a Chief Executive paid a $500,000 pa package when first their jobs, and now their pay, are to be cut to save the same amount,” said Martin Cooney.

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