Doing the beat with the right feet

“Perfect,” “wonderful,” “grateful,” and “awesome,” are just some of the words that Te Whatu Ora members are using to describe how they feel after organising to win for a special shoe voucher, which means they can pick out their own work shoes.

For those working as orderlies and cleaners at the hospital, the change has put a smile on everyone’s faces, an E tū delegate Barbara says.

Members working in these services roles at Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau and Waitematā were previously provided with a pair of shoes by Te Whatu Ora – even though there was a clause in their collective agreement around having a shoe voucher so they could go out and buy their own.

So, when it came to light that many members were resorting to buying their own shoes as they were so uncomfortable, Te Whatu Ora delegates organised a survey to see how widespread the problem was.

After 150 responses to their shoe survey, it became clear that the issue was urgent, and management acted quickly.

Now members have the choice of between five and nine different shoe styles and pay for them using a voucher. They also have the option of spending the remainder of the voucher on socks if there’s anything left over.

Barbara says, “Members are really rapt. It’s put a smile on everyone’s faces – they really appreciate what they’ve got, which is so much better than before.

“Workers do beat the feet a lot during their shifts, especially the orderlies. They’re grateful for the work that’s been done by the union and across the board.”