Mediation fails: Woburn Masonic members to strike
2 December 2019
E tū members at Woburn Masonic Village have likened their rosters to zero-hour contracts ahead of strike action from tomorrow in support of a collective agreement.
The members strike on Tuesday 3 December for half a day (4.5 hours) from 8.30am-1pm, and again at the same time on 6 December and 11 December.
The strike follows eight months of talks including last ditch mediation last week which failed to reach agreement.
E tū organiser, Robert Ibell says a key claim for members is stable shifts and hours. The employer, Masonic Care Limited has offered guaranteed hours to some members, but they would have to be available 24/7 in case of changes from roster to roster, “which is unacceptable,” says Robert.
“Masonic Village has written to residents and their families telling them they value our members, but our members don’t feel that way.
“They want certainty over their shifts and the days and hours they work. Without a decent roster, how are people supposed to organise their lives?”
Robert says the employer offered to increase weekend rates by $1 an hour, but only if it could cut the hours of care positions to pay for it.
“That would surely compromise the quality of care for residents, and we would resist any bid to reduce our members’ hours,” says Robert.
E tū delegate, Sela Mulitalo says currently, the “guaranteed hours” at Woburn Masonic are nearly all between 20 and 64 hours a fortnight, although members can be rostered on any day at any time.
These hours do not provide enough income to live on and workers have to look for other supplementary work. However, because they don’t know their days and hours of work from one roster to the next, they cannot make commitments to other employers.
“I do believe we have a zero hours process,” says Sela. “I am one of three caregivers guaranteed 80 hours a fortnight, but for all the other members, it’s so hard for them.
“What happens is the roster comes out and if they see spare shifts they grab them because the work might not be there next week.
“They end up working seven days, eight days straight and they burn out and get sick. We need proper guaranteed shifts and hours,” she says.
As well as secure work and weekend rates, the members are also seeking extra sick leave and long service leave in line with that provided by most other aged care employers in the Wellington area.