19 March 2008
Spotless Hospital Workers on Strike
The lowest paid workers in our health system have given two weeks notice of strike action because their employer, Spotless Services, is refusing to pay out the wage rise negotiated last year.
The Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota, which represents more than 800 kitchen workers, cleaners and orderlies who work for the multi-national contractor, issued the strike notices for Wednesday, April 2.
SFWU Industrial Co-ordinator Shane Vugler says a $14.25 minimum pay rate was negotiated as part of new national agreements covering workers employed by District Health Boards and three other contracting companies.
“It’s been nine months since Spotless locked our members out of their workplace for nine days over their wage negotiations. That lockout was resolved on the basis of agreement on wages, penal rates and overtime that Spotless workers would receive. Now Spotless is refusing to pay out because of ‘funding issues’ with its clients, the DHBs.”
Mr Vugler says Spotless workers have settled and ratified their Collective Employment Agreement and they should be paid out the agreed rates.
“Spotless is using its workers as pawns in their funding dispute with the DHBs. These workers are going to have to lose more wages to be paid what has been agreed to and what has already been funded by the Labour-led Government. This is not acceptable.”
The workers are employed at Kaitaia Hospital, Bay of Islands Hospital (Kawakawa), Whangarei Hospital, North Shore Hospital, Waitakere Hospital, Middlemore Hospital, Manukau Superclinic, Pukekohe Hospital, Franklin Hospital (Waiuku), Tauranga Hospital, Rotorua Hospital, Gisborne Hospital, Palmerston North Hospital, Wanganui Hospital, Hawkes Bay Hospital, Kew Hospital, Wairarapa Hospital, and Timaru Hospital.