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(from overseas please dial +64 9 375 2680)Support for Oceania strikes grows
Posted On: Thursday, 22 March 2012
The number of Oceania rest homes taking strike action to achieve a fair pay settlement has grown. Workers at eight more sites have voted to strike, bringing the total to number to 30.
Members of the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) and New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) will again take strike action on 5 April.
"Initially support for industrial action was strongest in Auckland, but commitment to on-going strike action to win this dispute has now spread beyond the metropolitan centres to heartland New Zealand," said joint union advocate Alastair Duncan.
"Workers at smaller rest homes in locations like Pahiatua, Whitianga and Gisborne are standing up and saying enough is enough."
Alastair Duncan said the involvement of provincial New Zealand was critical in bringing the dispute to an end.
"The same rest homes that were run for decades by church groups in small towns are now the local arm of a faceless corporate holding on to public money, and local communities don't like this at all," he said.
Alastair Duncan said Oceania had received a government funding increase in June 2011 but was only offering to pass on the increase to staff from February 2012. Another funding increase, in June this year, was being offered on the condition that workers don't get the increase until February 2013.
"Hundreds of Oceania staff members receive $13.61 an hour, a shockingly low pay rate for any job, let alone the work of caring for our elderly," he said.
"It is not surprising that support for industrial action is growing, both amongst our members and amongst rest home residents and local communities."
The two unions are preparing further strike notices should Oceania not improve its offer.
Note: New sites where workers have voted to join industrial action include:
Duart and Gracelands (Hastings); Dunblane (Gisborne); Eldon Lodge (Paraparaumu); Greengables (Nelson); Otumarama (Stoke); Waireka (Pahiatua); Whitianga Continuing Care (Whitianga).
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