The Government Must Fund Care Workers Before Landlords
E tū, the biggest private sector union in Aotearoa New Zealand, is shocked to learn that the National Party’s coalition agreement with ACT would see planned tax breaks for landlords brought forward, costing at least $900 million according to analysis by the Council of Trade Unions.
The news comes as the new National-led Government is announcing more details about their fiscal plan. E tū urges the Government to prioritise workers and their communities, including essential workers in care and support.
One area that needs urgent attention is funding for the care and support pay equity claim. Care and support workers have already waited too long for proper recognition of their skills.
Caregiver and Convenor of the E tū Community Support Industry Council, Marianne Bishop, says funding the sector properly is long overdue.
“It’s stupid that the sector has always been so underfunded,” Marianne says.
“People pay taxes their whole lives, but then have to fight for the care they need when they are older.
“The new Government has some important decisions to make about their priorities. Landlords are not doing it tough, but care and support workers certainly are.
“We have only had up to a 3% pay rise in the last year, with some of us getting nothing, despite the cost of living increasing so much more than that. Everyone is really struggling, especially our colleagues in home support who have to cover their own vehicle costs and other expenses.”
Marianne says the Government needs to fund pay equity to ensure the care sector can function properly in the future.
“We have an ageing population and an ageing workforce. What’s going to happen in 10, or 20 years’ time? How are going to attract new people into the industry if they can’t earn a living? It’s just not going to work.
“We won the first settlement under a National Government in 2017, now it’s time for them to step up again. They keep saying that people voted for change, well now it’s time to really change things for people who need care and those who provide it.”