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About that pay equity deal

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 am, July 1st, 2017 - 15 comments
Categories: class war, health, national, Unions, useless, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , , , ,

After a long legal struggle, in an outcome described as a victory for resurgent unions, health care workers won a much deserved and significant pay increase. Brazenly, the Nats tried to claim the credit for a move they fought against tooth and nail. And now, this:

Pay equity deal’s missing millions

Long overdue pay rate increases affecting 55,000 New Zealand care and support workers kick in on July 1. But the Government’s failure to fully fund the changes is threatening to derail service providers

The $2 billion pay equity deal was hailed as a triumph for under-paid care workers and a capitulation by Government funders – but as the July 1 deadline for pay equity arrives, it’s becoming clear this was a hollow victory for the sector. In many cases the money – estimated to be at least $250 million for just one group of service providers – won’t be coming, and some providers will go under as they struggle with the reality of higher wage bills and training costs.

That’s bastard politics that is.

Emails and letters provided to Newsroom detail the Ministry of Health’s persistent avoidance in confirming funding amounts to providers, as well as admissions that its “funding model” does leave some outfits out of pocket. Furthermore, the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act, which took only two weeks to be passed into law, has ensured providers have minimal say at the contract negotiating table.

In April, when Health Minister Jonathan Coleman proudly announced the $2 billion pay equity settlement, Kristine Bartlett – whose 2012 pay equity claim with aged care provider TerraNova set in motion the five-year fight that culminated in the May agreement – held back tears as she spoke of the occasion: “I’m so happy for the care and support workers. Because for so long we’ve been struggling … but we did it.”

At the time, Coleman didn’t miss a beat – calling the pay equity settlement “an historic moment for the Government to address this undervaluing with Ms Bartlett and the unions”.

Since then, four sector organisations – the New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA), the New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN), Care Association New Zealand (CANZ) and the Home and Community Health Association (HCHA) – have been in continuous communication with MPs, the Ministry of Health, DHBs and ACC about the millions of dollars missing in funding for the pay equity changes.

So far, none of the organisations has been given the exact information that shows how the Ministry of Health and ACC devised its funding models and calculated the extra costs related to the pay equity changes. Newsroom also asked for the information, and was refused by the Ministry on the grounds it was “commercially sensitive”. …

This is yet more excellent reporting from Newsroom (Teuila Fuatai). Read on for plenty more, and Coleman’s denials.

In other news this morning: Health budget falls $215m short, unions say, and Government knew of DHB blunder before Budget.

We can’t trust National on anything.

Newsroom are the best thing that has happened to journalism in this country in ages. You can support them via Press Patron.

15 comments on “About that pay equity deal ”

  1. NZJester 1

    The deliberate underfunding is the Nats way of making all these services crash so they can break the strong unions and put in a system similar to the charter schools and private run prisons in the health sector. Wages will then go down as the skilled workers are replaced by unskilled ones allowed to do the job under new legislation, but costs will go up as money is poured into the pockets of those uncaring companies that will be running the new schemes.

  2. dv 2

    If they can’t get this right, (or the distribution of funs to the hospitals) how on earth do they “think” they will get the big data intervention even close to right.

    • ianmac 2.1

      “If they can’t get this right, (or the distribution of funs to the hospitals) how on earth do they “think” they will get the big data intervention even close to right.”
      Don’t think that Hospitals ever get “the funs ” right dv. 🙂

      But we notice how the Right says things like “if Labour can’t get their intern process right how can they run Government?”

    • You’re assuming it’s incompetence as opposed to malice, which I’m not sure is entirely a good idea.

  3. patricia bremner 3

    Asset stripping by under funding. Typical Rank Nasty party.

  4. millsy 4

    Time to bring back aged care services under the control and provision of DHB’s. Its the only way that this can be sustainable.

    This was all privatised over the past 30 years with Timaru’s unit being closed down a couple of years ago being the last one in public ownership.

  5. red-blooded 5

    The other thing to note is who’s been left out of this deal – mental health workers. Carers who work with people with mental disabilities are covered, but not those who work with people with mental health issues. Why not?

  6. Keith 6

    Nothing highlights the dishonesty of the National Party more than this sort of deal breaking behavior.

    These devious creeps claim all the glory in the bright lights of the media, the sickening Coleman comes across all fatherly and progressive meanwhile fully knowing that what was promised was just empty words.

    All the promises they make, the budget, the reassurances of more bring spent here, more police there, more on topical health issues , are all just lies.

    Another reason if we needed another to vote the fuckers out!

  7. adam 7

    Who would have thought it?

    My goodness, where is Wayne to say it’s all in the budget?

    Oh well, disabled and the aged will suffer once again in this country, it’s such a great place to be.

    Were number One!!!

    Were number One!!!

    Were number One!!!

    In suicides, and letting children die of poverty related issues – so why the hell should we be any different with the elderly and disabled??

  8. Dorothy Bulling 8

    My husband’s personal caregiver tells us her employers are going through every case they have on their books to see if time can be stripped from any cases so they can save
    dollars on their budgets.

    • weka 8.1

      If that’s care being provided at home then technically that shouldn’t be possible, because the organisation that allocates hours via a needs assessment is supposed to be separate from the provider and the provider should have no control over hours allocated.

      So if it does happen, go back to the organisation that allocated the hours and complain there. Where that falls down is where the allocator and the provider are the same (some DHBs might still be doing this). In that case go outside the department and up the chain in the DHB. Or try a local MP. Because it shouldn’t be happening, there were good reasons to set up the system so the provider feeling a squeeze in their budget couldn’t cut hours to people in need. .

      I fully expect the MoH and DHBs to cut allocated hours eventually, but that’s a different thing than what we are seeing currently. I also expect organisations like rest homes to cut services by reducing staff. But support at home should technically be reasonably bullet proof until the allocations get cut formally. Hopefully we will have a new govt by then, more willing to sort the mess out.

  9. tc 9

    cruel and calculated like flogging state houses at mates rates

  10. greg 10

    the whole system is so stuffed if one group wins any kind of fair deal the house of cards falls over when is a surplus not a surplus when its foundations are based on exploitation and oppression in the race to the bottom.

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