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NZ Life Care Refuses to Return to Mediation

December 2, 2003

NZ Life Care Refuses to Return to Mediation

NZ Life Care has rejected an offer by New Zealand Nurses Organisation, on behalf of it’s members at Rotorua’s Redwood Lodge, to cancel strike action planned for tomorrow and return to mediation.

NZNO made the offer in an attempt to resolve a dispute over safe staffing and wages at the rest home and hospital.

“Our members are amazed at the rejection of our offer, especially as NZ Life Care has been publicly claiming the care of residents was its first priority,” said NZNO organiser Shane Vugler.

NZ Life Care last week confirmed reports that residents had been found ‘saturated’ in urine during the strike action. NZ Life Care has also stated they would return to negotiations if the threat of strike action was removed.

“Redwood staff have bent over backwards to get NZ Life Care back to the negotiating table but the rejection of their offer is consistent with NZ Life Care’s hard-nosed response to the safe staffing level claim staff have tried to negotiate into their collective agreement.

Last week NZ Life Care stated that a Cap Gemini report commissioned and funded by Aged Care providers set the level of wages as a percentage of income for rest home residents at 46%. NZ Life Care is using this report to justify why they don’t need to increase their present level of staffing.

“NZ Life Care should listen to their staff, their residents, reputable providers and the Ministry of Health who agree with NZNO that labour costs should be around 66% of funding,” he said.

“NZ Life Care’s approach to this dispute shows their first priority is their profit margin, not the safety and wellbeing of elderly residents as they are claiming. Our nurses and caregivers on the other hand are putting the future wellbeing of residents first – that is what their industrial action is all about.”

ENDS

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