Your right to strike – why it’s perfectly legal and what happens next

When is the strike?

It’s from 7.00 am to 11.00 am on April 1. That means you stop work at 7.00am and don’t resume work until 11.00am

Why are we striking?

Nearly 1500 members voted by secret ballot to strike in support of our claims for weekend pay, no cuts to our current rights and a better deal for SSWs.

IDEA’s latest offer falls way short, so the strike is on! (see separate details on our current claim)

Do I have to strike?

Nearly 1500 members voted in secret by a 99% majority so we would expect that everyone would respect the result and not work.

So, what if no-one comes to relieve me at 7.00am?

First off, if you sense that no-one is going to come, ring your manager and tell her/him. Even though we didn’t have to, we gave IDEA two weeks written notice, so they had plenty of time to cover.

If no-one shows, ring your SM and tell them you are leaving. 

Do I get paid while on strike?


What is a lockout?

That’s when the boss stops you working and doesn’t pay you.  It is possible IDEA will hand out ‘lockout’ notices on the day which is their way of saying you aren’t going to be paid while on strike.

Remind me, what are we striking for?

We asked IDEA to lift pay for SSWs; for weekend rates for weekend work, and to support better Health and Safety on the job.

The said they didn’t agree with weekend pay in “principle”, offered just 50 cents to a small number of SSWs and said they want to cut challenging behaviour of service users out of the agreement. 

IDEA also wants to be able to force you to move  – without notice – to other facilities.

What do I do on 1 April?

We’ll be holding a range of activities including pickets of IDEA Services offices, and the traditional barbecue breakfasts! We suggest you get together with your colleagues and decide what you want to do to make your voice heard!

Some of my workmates are not union members.

While most people at IDEA are members, sadly, others are not. The biggest reason people don’t join the union is they are not asked. E tū welcomes new members and you might want to remind them that payment for sleepovers and equal pay didn’t come from IDEA. They came from our union and now we are seeking to make the workplace even better.  (If you don’t have a spare membership form remind them they can join on line at

My manager wants to know if I will be on strike.

It is not appropriate that managers ask that question. Tell them E tū wrote to IDEA on 15 March informing them the strike is on and that is all they need to know.

What happens after the strike?

We will invite IDEA to resume negotiations and, in the week of 15 April 15, will hold special two hour paid stop work meetings to update you and vote on possible further strikes if we haven’t made progress.

If you have any other questions, please contact E tū Union Support by emailing or calling 0800 1 UNION (0800 186 466).