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Child, Youth and Family staff to strike on Friday

Child, Youth and Family staff to strike on Friday

More than 2,000 Child, Youth and Family staff are taking strike action this Friday following a breakdown of their pay talks.

The 24-hour strike from 8am is being undertaken by members of the Public Service Association (PSA). The strike will affect all offices nation-wide, the Department’s call centre and its residences.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said it is ironic that strike action is being taken in the same week as Social Workers Day (today, Wednesday 28 September 2005).

“Child, Youth and Family staff do the toughest job in social work, looking after the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and difficult children in our society.

“Despite this their pay rates remain significantly behind other social work and support personnel employed in the public sector. Social work staff employed by the Department have not had an increase to their pay scales since 2001 and the last increase to administrative and other support staff pay rates was in 2003.

“It is past time the gap was closed, but Child, Youth and Family are refusing to pay their staff salaries commensurate with those paid to others in the public sector.

“The recent pay offer for mental and allied health workers employed by district health boards, including a large number of social workers, will see the gap widen even further if it is ratified.

“The structure of the Child, Youth and Family pay system is also antiquated. Social workers in the state sector progress through their pay system through a series of annual increments, but Child, Youth and Family remain obsessed with performance pay.

“Performance pay systems have been shown to deliver arbitrary results and to entrench pay inequities which is a particular concern in a female-dominated workforce like Child, Youth and Family.

“Since 1999 Child, Youth and Family has received large funding increases to improve its services. All staff have worked very hard to turn around what was previously a poorly performing agency.

“It is time for the Department to invest some of its increased resources in its most critical asset, it’s pool of committed and professional staff, because if it does not it will lose them to less stressful better paid positions elsewhere in the public sector,” Richard Wagstaff said.

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