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Aged Care Employers Using Govt Funding as Excuse

20 October 2005

Aged Care Employers Using Government Underfunding As Excuse To Underpay

Presbyterian Support has joined the list of aged care providers using government underfunding as an excuse to pay rates that don’t recognise the value of their workforce says the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.

NZNO Organising Services Manager Cee Payne-Harker said the excuse did not wash with their hardworking nurses, caregivers and support workers.

“In the past few weeks Presbyterian Support, Qualcare and Guardian Healthcare Group have refused to offer wage increases that equal increases in government funding from last year and in some cases refuse to increase wages even when they are announcing millions of dollars of profits, saying they are waiting for increased government funding,” she said.

“On the one hand PS says it can’t pay because it is waiting for government funding and on the other hand it refuses to write into any agreement that they will pass on that funding.”

Cee Payne-Harker said it was time to face the facts.

“PS has had a 3% government funding increase for the period July 2004 – July 2005, plus holiday pay adjustments of over 1%,” she said.

“But PS has offered an 18 month agreement which equates to a 2.7% a year pay increase. GHG has had the same level of government funding and has announced millions of dollars profit and they are offering 2%.”

Cee Payne-Harker said while there is no doubt that the sector is significantly underfunded and the new Labour-led government must deliver on its promise to significantly increase funding, some providers are ripping off workers and exploiting the elderly and the community by refusing to pass on existing funding.

“It is hypocrisy for providers to use the excuse of not being able to afford pay increases because of inadequate government funding and then refuse to guarantee that increases will be passed on to their employees when government delivers,” she said.

Nearly 400 NZNO and SFWU members are striking today in PS hospitals and rest homes from Timaru to Invercargill. Striking workers picketed Invercargill and Dunedin PS offices and aged care facilities in the lower South Island this morning.

ENDS

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