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PSA Takes Legal Action Against South Canterbury DHB

The Public Service Association filed legal action on Friday to ensure home support workers, left in the lurch by the termination of a private contract, can transition to new employers with the same terms and conditions.

The union believes South Canterbury DHB has not met its obligations under the Employment Relations Act.

PSA assistant secretary, Melissa Woolley says, "Filing proceedings in the Employment Court is not a decision we made lightly. South Canterbury DHB is the board that contracts out these services to private providers. It is beyond disappointing that they will not take leadership and make sure workers and clients are not disadvantaged."

Workers and clients are left not knowing who will deliver their home support. This means the relationship between clients and the support worker is broken, an extremely distressing situation, given the personal nature of the care and support provided.

Home support workers do not know whether they have a job or where they will go, what their pay or conditions will be, or how many employers they might end up working for.

Home support worker, Camella Ross says, "I have worked for some clients for a decade. They are confused and worried about what is happening. It’s not fair on them and it’s not fair on us."

"I have 65.5 hours per fortnight guaranteed at the moment. When these changes happen, I will be down to 15."

"I am a grandmother bringing up a grandchild. I have a mortgage - how will I pay it? How will I support my grandchild?"

"The DHB needs to come to the party and show some respect for our skills and experience, and make sure we can transfer to the new providers on the pay and hours we are on now."

The matter is now with the Employment Court. PSA is confident that justice for these vulnerable workers will be served.

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