Mental health pay equity deal official

Delegates, Huia Broughton, Shona Pao, and Tina Topia.

The equal pay settlement for mental health and addiction support workers is official!

The Government, unions and other agencies signed on the dotted line at an event at parliament in August.

Shona Pao has worked in mental health support for 27 years, after following her mother, Tina Topia into the industry. Her pay will lift from $19.80 to $24.50 an hour.

“It’s exciting!” says Shona. “And I’m so happy for our delegates who have worked hard for us. This will make a huge difference.”

Delegate Huia Broughton says the settlement is a weight off her shoulders.

“You just feel you have more options, and like you can rest now. We’ll have a better work-life balance to look forward to,” she says.

About 5000 workers will benefit from the settlement, which includes backpay to 1 July last year.

Home support push

Home support members are organising! Workplace Organising Committees and training are growing membership numbers and active leaders.

“When I first joined, I thought I’d just give support, but it’s become much bigger than that,” says Etevise Ioane, who is one of our amazing home support activists.

Etevise Ioane (right) with fellow activists Shannon Crowley and Shaun O’Neill

Etevise says the members learn to speak for themselves, knowing the union is there to provide help, support and a sense of connection: “We have a much stronger bond with each other. And we encourage others to speak out,” she says.

“We know the union is behind us, that we can fall back on them. Once the members understand that, they become more proactive. And that’s the message we are trying to get out there.”

“We don’t just join for ourselves, but it’s for the good of all, and for the future.”