Kāpiti Unionists Strike

Former Councillor joining Kāpiti
Lights protest to get pay rise

for care workers

Former KCDC Councillor Lyndy McIntyre will join Eldon Lodge rest home workers in a pay protest at Kāpiti Lights tomorrow.

Ms McIntyre says: “Kāpiti folk wanting to support low-paid Oceania staff like those at Eldon Lodge in Paraparaumu can come to the picket at Kāpiti lights intersection tomorrow from 8.30am to 10.30am.

Mana Labour MP Kris Faafoi, who has been a solid supporter of the striking rest home workers, is also expected to attend.

Staff at Eldon Lodge are taking strike action at the same time as staff at 29 other Oceania facilities around the country.

Their union, the Service and Food Workers Union says: “Oceania is an Aussie-owned corporate, taking tax-payer money and pocketing it instead of passing it on to their workers who are amongst the lowest paid in NZ — with 600 Oceania staff on $13.61. (The minimum wage is $13.50).

Tomorrow’s actions takes the long-running pay dispute into heartland New Zealand.

For the first time, eight rest homes in Gisborne, Whitianga, Pahiatua, Kāpiti, Nelson, Stoke and Hawkes Bay will strike for four hours from 8am tomorrow. This  follows strikes at  22 other sites which have been taking action for the past six weeks.

Up to 1500 taking part

Up to 1500 members of the Service and Food Workers Union and New Zealand Nurses Organisation will take part in the action.

“What started as a straight-forward claim for a fair cost of living increase by hard working care workers has become a battle over corporate greed,” said joint union spokesperson Alastair Duncan.

“In a sector that should be all about caring Oceania does not seem to understand that there’s no heart beat on a balance sheet.”

Mr Duncan adds: “Last June Oceania received a 2.6% funding increase from every District Health Board.  It has failed to pass that money on to staff and is persisting with its proposals to drip feed this money by installments.

“If Oceania ignored the needs of its residents in the same way it ignores the needs of its staff they would be shut down tomorrow.”

‘Oceania completely isolated’

Alastair Duncan says that, with the settlement of a similar dispute with the Radius rest home group last week, Oceania is now completely isolated.

Over the weekend the NZ Nurses Organisation and Service and Food Workers Union developed three separate settlement proposals for Oceania to consider.

Mr Duncan adds: “The Oceania Board is meeting today. They can end this dispute today. If not, not the strikes will go ahead,” said Alastair Duncan.