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Pay parity an election issue

Media Statement
For Immediate Release

29 May 2008

Pay parity an election issue for the Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary sector

A petition calling for the Government to deliver pay parity to nonprofit healthcare workers highlights an issue for all Sector organisations.

Members of ComVoices, a coalition of organisations in the Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary sector, are supporting the petition.

Ric Odom, Chief Executive Officer of YMCA says at a time of increasing food, fuel and power costs, Sector wages are lagging behind the public and private sectors.

“At the moment most Sector organisations are only partially funded by Government funding for the services they are contracted to provide.

“This means there is a gap between the cost to deliver the service to our communities, including wages, and the amount of money that an organisation receives from the Government. That gap is made up through alternative funding, such as donations and philanthropic funding,” Ric says.

Tina Reid, Executive Director of New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations (NZFVWO) says currently most Government contracts do not automatically allow for pay parity in the funding they are providing.

“Many Sector workers are providing exactly the same service as their DHB counterparts and yet they are getting paid less.

“The cost attributed to wages is below that of the public sector. It is time for the Government to recognise wage levels in a way that will achieve pay parity to the Sector for someone providing exactly the same service as their public sector counterparts,” Tina says.

It is understood that the Government’s February announcement, to fully fund for ‘essential services’ for the first time, will not apply to health contracts.

Jo Lake, National Executive Officer of Presbyterian Support New Zealand says pay parity impacts Sector organisations because it makes it harder to attract and retain staff.

“Sector organisations are providing many core services to our community. These are services that the Government recognises that it can’t provide. Pay parity is an important part of recognising the Sector’s role,” Jo says.

ComVoices members support Te Rau Kokiri, made up of 27 employer representatives representing 60 Māori and iwi health care providers, and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation in raising the profile of this important issue.


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