Category: Community Support

Strike four Friday for E tū IDEA Services members

Workers supporting New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities at IDEA Services will strike tomorrow for one hour from 8.30am in support of their employment agreement negotiations.

The nationwide strike will be the fourth in the past two months and follows a bid by IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC, to cut working conditions.

E tū advocate, Alastair Duncan says the union represents nearly 3000 workers and the one-hour strike is intended to show the determination of staff to prevent IDEA undermining crucial health and safety rights.

“This will be the fourth strike since April and is a direct result of a management that is not listening,” says Alastair.

Last week the union delivered 700 personalised messages from care staff asking the Board to talk with staff.

“For seven months we have repeatedly asked IDEA Services decision makers to sit down and talk but to date the Board and Chief Executive have refused to meet with us.”

E tū has asked the Employment Relations Authority for urgent facilitation citing protracted negotiations, bad faith and strike action as reasons to bring the parties together.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Alastair Duncan E tū advocate ph. 027 245 6593

Strike three at IDEA – and we’re out

When IDEA management walked out of mediation last week they left us with no option but to go ahead with l Monday’s strike from 3.30 to 4.30.

We had hoped they would have stayed and negotiated but they didn’t.  So now members are on strike again for one hour –  this Monday 20th  3.30 to 4.30

Monday’s strike will be the third over the last two months and there is further strike set for Friday  31st May from 8.30 am to  9.30 am.

We’ve already agreed to attend mediation before the 31st ,  but don’t yet know if IDEA will turn up, or how long they’ll stay.

PS This weekend KFC Carls Jnr and Pizza Hutt workers are on strike – so please get your takeaways somewhere else!

For more information contact 0800 1 UNION 0800186466

Strike action by Access Community co-ordinators

OUR WORK MATTERS: Access Community health coordinators, contact centre workers and administrators to take industrial action

Workers who co-ordinate the home support of over 20,000 aged, injured and disabled people across New Zealand have voted to take industrial action in total frustration at their employer’s refusal to raise their wages.

Despite playing a vital role in the care and support of around 3.8 million visits including scheduling visits and matching support workers to vulnerable clients, many of these workers are paid at the minimum wage.

“The employer’s latest offer was rejected unanimously at meetings around the country, with 100% of voters in support of industrial action and 100% rejection of the employer’s offer”, said their unions, PSA and E tū – the Home Support unions for New Zealand.

“We are really being stretched thin. Understaffing means we’re working longer and longer hours, in a job where more and more people need support out there in the community and in their homes. We are dedicated to our jobs and our clients, but we cannot continue under the current conditions – something has to change, and soon” says care coordinator, Kirsty Rowe.

“Industrial action is a last resort for these workers, but they believe it is also necessary to ensure that quality of care is maintained for their clients,” says Melissa Woolley, PSA assistant national secretary.

“Access says they can’t raise wages because of a lack of funding. But this is a business owned by Green Cross Health, the group behind Unichem and Life Pharmacy, which reported a net profit of $8million in the six months to September 2018,” Ms Woolley says.

“Access is a major home support provider, delivering around 20% of all home and community support in New Zealand, but it hasn’t increased wages for coordinators in the same way that competitors have.”

“Support workers received a significant pay boost from the 2017 care and support pay equity settlement. But coordinators, admin, and contact centre workers have been left behind – and now earn less than the support workers they are responsible for coordinating,” says E tū Home Support coordinator Kirsty McCully.

“These workers are the glue that hold Home Support together in New Zealand. Their work matters, and they deserve to be respected and paid properly for the contribution they make,” Ms McCully says.

The PSA and E tū have agreed to urgent mediation with Access, but members are preparing to take unprecedented strike action for the week of the 13th unless mediations sees a significantly improved offer from the employer.

Key company info:

Access Community Health is a subsidiary business of Green Cross Health Limiting, a primary health care services company listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. As of March 2019, the group had a market capitalisation of $143 million. 

Green Cross operates across three segments:    

  • Pharmacies: 362 pharmacies under its Unichem and Life Pharmacy brands
  • Medical: 41 medical centres under the doctors brand
  • Community: home support services to 21,400 clients through Access Community Health, with 3.8 million home visits in 2018, employing 3,500 support workers and 166 community nurses.[1]

Net profit attributable to shareholders increased from $16.9 million in 2017 to $18.7 million in 2018, and the company issued more shares and paid more in dividends to its shareholders. [2]


[1] https://www.greencrosshealth.co.nz/investors/GXH_Mar19%20Investor_Update_Presentation.pdf?a=get&i=132

[2] http://nzx-prod-s7fsd7f98s.s3-website-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/attachments/GXH/320080/281885.pdf

Mediation for IDEA Services dispute

IDEA Services E tū members head into mediation tomorrow with IDEA Services ahead of planned strike action next week.

A second round of industrial action by the members is scheduled to on Monday, 13 May, affecting 3000 IDEA Services E tū members nationwide.

That follows an overwhelming vote by union members for a series of separate strikes over the next two months to support bargaining claims for their collective agreement.

This would be the second round of industrial action, following a four-hour strike on 1 April.

The members, who provide residential and vocational care for the intellectually disabled, are striking for higher pay for senior service workers, weekend pay rates and action on unsafe staffing levels.

An employer attempt to claw back health and safety rights was a contributing factor in the 99% margin to strike, says E tū Industry Coordinator, Alastair Duncan.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Alastair Duncan E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 245 6593

Second strike at IDEA gets massive support

IDEA members have again voted by a 99% to 1% margin for further strike action in support of the E tū claim to lift pay and prevent IDEA rolling back existing rights.

The next strike is a one-hour strike starting on Monday 13 May at 3.30 pm and lasting till 4.30 pm.  A further strike is planned for the 20 May at the same time if needed.

On 8 May we will meet with IDEA to see if their position has changed and report any progress.

In the meantime, all affected members are reminded that the strike is your legal right and that if managers ask you if you are going to be working, you can tell them that we have advised IDEA of the strike and it’s your right to strike for the hour.

Auckland RIDSAS workers will start a paperwork ban at 10.00 am on the same day.

The full voting results will be published following the counting of special votes.

Opinion: Why IDEA Services members are striking

By Nic Corrigan

Most IDEA Services residential staff are physically at work between 50-70 hours a week. This includes weekends, evening and overnights.  Staff will often go that extra mile and even work in other towns away from home, to help out when there isn’t anyone else to fill a shift.  And often during our time off, we are rung day or night to sacrifice time with our families to cover shifts.

We do this because we know these vulnerable people need us. But this all comes at a significant personal cost to support workers’ personal lives, in terms of giving up time and milestones with their family and Friends. 

Now IHC/IDEA Services tells us they the support workers to be more ‘flexible’.  What they are saying is what we do is not enough; they want even more from us.

Members believe they already give everything they can to the people we support, and they can’t sacrifice anymore.  They are deeply offended by IDEA Service’s escalating demands and worried about how much more they and their families will have to sacrifice to keep their job and passion. For many, it’s already been too much and they have quit.

Senior Support Workers

While most people know support workers go the extra mile, some might not know that it is the Senior support workers who lead this.  They mentor, support and lead the team.  If something new needs to happen or a person we support wants to achieve something new in their life, it’s the Senior support worker who leads the way to enable the support team to make it happen for the person they support. We want these senior staff members recognised with a small pay rise, and celebrated for the extra contribution, commitment, knowledge and experience they bring to the organisation.  IHC/Idea Services wants the position gone.

Violence

We are striking to ensure the places we work are safe from violence and that there is adequate support to ensure this happens.   Too often our members are placed in a situation where they must choose whether to protect themselves or the people they support from physical harm – and thus we chose to ourselves in harm’s way to protect others. IHC/Idea Services wants to remove a section from our Collective Agreement that acknowledges that some of our service users have challenging behaviours which are a risk to health and safety. If this happens, members feel this will render invisible the fact that some support workers face the threat of violence from service users on a daily basis.

We take the hits, punches, bites and threats of violence and we try to manage this the best we can.  What we don’t expect is for our employer to add salt to our injuries by dismissing our real safety concerns.

Conclusion

Support workers need and have the right to be treated with respect, and to feel safe like every other working New Zealander. We are striking to ensure these principles are respected and upheld.

No April Fool as IDEA workers go on strike

Hundreds of IDEA members turned out across the Country on 1 April standing loud and proud for a better deal at work.

From Northland to Southland member grabbed picket signs, braved torrential rain and made headlines across the country.

With paid stop-work meetings coming up in the week of the 15  April, another strike could be on the  cards.

IDEA: April 1 strike is on after mediation fails

Mediation for nearly 3000 IDEA Services care workers has ended in failure after IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC, refused to budge on key union claims to lift wages and conditions.

The members, who provide residential care for the intellectually disabled, are seeking higher pay for senior service workers, weekend pay rates and action on unsafe staffing levels.

E tū industry co-ordinator Alastair Duncan says IDEA Services refused a union request to even discuss options.

“Not only does IDEA Services want to cut current conditions, it also wants to undermine the job security of the workforce using the mantra of so-called ‘flexibility’.

“Union members are fed up with the way their long-standing concerns have been ignored.

“Every day support workers go the extra mile for IDEA Services but when it comes to staff rights, IDEA shuts down”, he says.

Delegates say they are sick of having problems like understaffing parked in working parties which go nowhere.

“Even our attempts to engage constructively around safe staffing and violence in the workplace have been continually met with a noncommittal response. We are feeling unheard and undervalued because of this,” says Marlborough-based union delegate Jeanine Sadd.

Union members have asked to meet with the board to discuss their concerns, but IDEA Services has yet to respond.

“IDEA has now followed the pattern of the corporate aged care world and is growing its property arm at the expense of its workforce,” says Manawatu union delegate Nic Corrigan.

“They seem to think safe staffing is an optional extra.”

The 4-hour strike begins at 7.00 am on Monday and will involve pickets and protests in both metropolitan and rural New Zealand.

ENDS

For further information, contact Alastair Duncan ph. 027 245 6593.

To speak to our delegates, please contact Karen Gregory-Hunt ph. 022 269 1170

IDEA Services care workers to strike 1 April

Three thousand care and support workers employed by IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC, have voted to strike on 1 April.

E tū industry co-ordinator Alastair Duncan says members voted overwhelmingly to strike after five months of challenging bargaining, during which IDEA has failed to respond positively to key workforce and safety concerns.

“Support workers at IDEA do an extraordinary job of supporting young and old people with intellectual disabilities,” says Alastair.

“Every day and every night, seven days a week, staff go the extra mile. Just once a year we ask IDEA to reflect that contribution by working together to improve the working conditions of staff.”

Alastair Duncan says union members have sought a greater voice on health and safety, and recognition for working weekends as well as the restoration of responsibility margins.

“IDEA responded by wanting to cut sick leave accumulation, force staff to move workplaces without agreement or notice and simply refused to consider recognition that staff are required to work anti-social hours.”

Alastair says IHC operates the same business model as for-profit care providers, spinning off its financially successful property division from its operational arm.

“IHC is a major landlord and property company that depends on its care staff. It is tragic to see them ignoring their own workforce.

“IHC has a strong and growing asset base but refuses to do the smart thing and allow its property arm to support its operational arm.”

Alastair says staff are concerned that IDEA has dug its heels in leaving them little choice but to take what is lawful, modest but important industrial action.

The union is seeking urgent mediation but if the strike goes ahead, will be holding nationwide high-profile pickets.

“Support workers will be reaching out to families and the community to work with us to persuade IDEA to do the right thing and respect it’s staff,” he says.

Alastair Duncan says IHC locked its staff out of weekend pay and other allowances in the 1990’s and it is now well past time to return what was stolen.

The strike will begin at 7.00 am and affect several hundred residential, vocational and secure homes and facilities.

ENDS

For further information contact Alastair Duncan on 027 245 6593.