Today history was made for care givers around New Zealand. This is the day that the Government of New Zealand backed down and acknowledged that New Zealand care givers deserve a significantly larger wage and that the predominantly female workforce in this sector was suffering significant wage discrimination.
Unfortunately, despite backing down, the Government cannot claim any credit in regards to this. All of the credit must go to the E tu union for bringing this about after much hard work. It is in election year and is quite an expensive defeat to have to be admitting, but in doing so, it paints National in a positive light. This was pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition, Labour Leader Andrew Little when asked for commentary on the deal yesterday afternoon. Nor was the rather cynical nature lost on other opposition parties such as the Greens and New Zealand First.
So, what does the deal entail:
- Effective 01 June it a care giver on $15.75 will receive an extra $4/hr, increasing their wage to $19.75/hr
- Some will get up to 7/hr increase in their pay
- The deal will cost N.Z.$2 billion to implement over the next four years
The campaign to get the historic announcement today to happen at all is the result of a two year negotiation campaign led by E tu. It comes after concerns that a failure to address these concerns would set the people who work in it down a trail where they have no quality of life and would not be able to plan for the future.
So, thank you to E tu for standing up for care givers and settling this with the Government. It gives me confidence that the people working in this essential sector of our health care are being appropriately valued.