Unions representing care and support workers are pleased to be jointly announcing with government a proposed equal pay settlement to 55,000 workers across the aged residential, disability and home support sectors.
The proposed settlement is a huge win and will make a real difference in valuing the work of care and support workers and the people they support, workers in the sector say. It is a significant step in addressing gender inequality in New Zealand.
The offer lifts care and support workers’ pay to between $19.00 and $23.50 from 1 July, rising to between $21.50 and $27.00 in July 2021.
It comes after 20 months of negotiations established by government to settle caregiver and E tū member Kristine Bartlett’s landmark equal pay case, lodged in 2012, which went all the way to the Supreme Court with the courts finding gender bias was the cause of Kristine’s low wages.
Kristine says “It will give us dignity and pride and make our lives worthwhile, knowing we’re being paid what we are actually worth. After years of struggling on low wages, hopefully we’re going to have a bit left over to actually enjoy life.”
Tens of thousands of care and support workers will now vote on the proposed settlement in coming weeks.
E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall says the offer once ratified will mean a “once in a lifetime pay rise which will end poverty wages for this mainly female workforce and set them on the path to a better life. We’re delighted today’s proposed settlement recognises the justice of Kristine’s case and the wonderful work of Kristine and other professional carers.”
New Zealand Nurses Organisation Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne says that “This equal settlement delivers pay rates that truly reflect the skills and importance of the work that care and support workers undertake every day. Decent pay rates and the right to achieve qualifications will grow and retain skilled workers to care for our elderly. This will build public confidence that high quality care will be delivered to our families’ loved ones in our rest homes and hospitals.”
PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says: “This settlement will make a real difference to our members. Our members in home support and disability support play a vital role in empowering people to live independent lives in their own communities. This settlement recognises the value of the work they do – and the people they support.”
Unions say the government is to be commended for agreeing to negotiate this settlement offer, rather than waiting for years before the legal process was finally exhausted.
Reposted from www.union.org.nz