Hospital workers pay increase will never be enough - Dame Glavish

By Tema Hemi

Public hospital service workers will receive 40% pay rise over the next three years. A new multi-employer collective agreement (Meca) has been ratified that sets conditions for about 3500 E tū Union service workers. 

Dame Naida Glavish says the accepted pay increase will never be enough of a reward for the hard work of hospital support staff.

She says, "Although the massive increase in pay, per dollar per hour, it's still not enough!  In terms of that increase that a worker receives other costs are also are going up like the cost of bread, milk and food that sustains your family.

"I am however happy with the increase but it's still not enough. I work within the DHB, I see every day their hard work, also those workers are not disruptive workers, they do not moan, they just get on with their work."

Dame Naida Glavish says accepted pay increase will never be enough - Photo / File

Since November 2017, the E tū Union has been working with district health boards across the country to improve work conditions for 3,500 of its members. 

As part of the package members who gain a Level 3 qualification would receive a pay rise from $17.28 to almost $25.00 by 2021, an increase of 40.9%. 

The 2000 health board workers, and 1500 employed by contractors include cleaners, laundry workers, orderlies, catering and security staff at the New Zealand's 20 district health boards. 

98% of the E tū union members and all DHBs have endorsed the pay rise. 

Members who gain a Level 3 qualification would receive a pay rise from $17.28 to almost $25.00 by 2021 - Photo / File

Trade union E tū's national hospital co-ordinator Sam Jones says, "People are telling us about not having to work that six days, not having to pick up those unsavoury shifts that mean they get penal rates so they can make ends meet. 

"The new coalition government made a committment to lifting the wages of the people at the bottom, they announced the minimum wage was getting moved to $20 over the term so we went in making sure our members skills and qualifications and effort in their mahi was being recognised and respected."

He says, "These workers do really important work in the hospitals, they keep the environment safe for patients and staff, whether it be security around those issues or sterile and infection control."