Month: May 2024

PM must commit to pay equity settlement for care and support workers

The unions representing care and support workers are calling on Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to pledge his commitment to deliver pay equity for the lowest paid workers on the frontline of healthcare in aged care, home support, disability support, mental health support. The call comes after today’s announcement of a proposal to disestablish the Pay Equity Taskforce within Te Kawa Mataaho, Public Service Commission.

The three unions – PSA, E and NZNO – say while Aotearoa has persistent gender pay gaps, where women are paid less than they’re worth, it is unthinkable to disband the expert group of people tasked with supporting pay equity.

The pay equity claim for care and support workers is well underway. Their claim simply aims to update the landmark settlement delivered by the National Party in 2017. Thousands of families have waited for almost two years for a desperately needed, and deeply deserved, pay increase.

Tossing out frameworks that guide how we address pay inequity leaves a massive gap in mechanisms for solving this problem. This change will particularly affect community and iwi-based organisations.

We are seriously concerned about a change in funding direction for pay equity claims in funded services.

Everyone deserves fair pay for their work. Pay equity claims for funded public and community services must be fully funded by the Government. If they are not, our communities will continue to suffer from understaffed and overstretched services when we need them. Our whānau deserve better.

Care and support is extremely important work – making sure people take their medications, helping them take showers, changing colostomy bags. Give health support to our older ones at home or in aged residential care homes. They support people through mental ill-health or addiction, and support disabled people to live independently.

Mental health support worker and PSA delegate, Christie Cox, says the decision is disappointing.  

“This is going to make it harder for women to get paid what we’re worth. Our services are already at breaking point,” Christie says.

“We deserve fair pay, which is why we’re calling on the Prime Minister to make the pledge.”

Aged care worker and E tū delegate, Marianne Bishop, says claims will be harder and slower to process without the Pay Equity Taskforce.

“We’ve already struggled for almost two years for our claim to be settled. It’s really frustrating,” Marianne says.

“Women deserve better. That is why we are calling on the Prime Minister for clarity urgently for care and support workers.”