20 February 2013
Aged Care workers get a Parliamentary slap in the face
The Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) said today the Parliamentary Health Select Committee has given residential aged care staff a slap in the face after the committee failed to take action on the concern of over ten thousand petitioners.
The committee has released its report on the SFWU and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation petition calling for proper funding of the aged care sector.
SFWU advocate Alastair Duncan said aged care staff would wonder why a group of seemingly informed politicians have turned a deaf ear to a compelling and urgent case for better funding and support for caregivers and residents in the aged care sector.
“The report not only ignored the strong call of ordinary New Zealanders in their petition, but it has also ignored the highly critical work of the Human Rights Commission which last year supported the joint union call for safe staffing levels, fair pay and better funding,” he said.
Alastair Duncan said the Health Select Committee report showed a fundamental lack of understanding of the need to support what has become one of the fastest growing industries in New Zealand, built on the back of underfunding the providers and underpaying the largely female workforce.
“To add insult to injury, the Minister of Senior Citizens, Jo Goodhew, appears to have ignored all the clear evidence that shows the only way to close the growing gap between men’s and women’s pay is to take positive steps to intervene,” he said.
“Thousands of women working in aged care are underpaid today and, with the growth in the workforce projected to double in the next ten years, now is the time to act.
“Aged care depends on the goodwill of hard-working, skilled women who have been undervalued for too long. The very Minister who should be leading the charge to address this has turned her back on them.
“This is a lost opportunity. Instead of brushing aside the needs of the elderly, the committee could have approached the issue as an investment in our eldercare services and recommended a greater public investment in our aging community.”