One group of workers being transferred to new employers
because of the Southern District Health Board's home support
service shake-up are likely to have better pay and conditions
than their colleagues.
One of the providers eliminated by the board's
rationalisation is its own service, which employs 17 workers.
Unlike other affected workers, the health board's workers
were set to be split three ways, with a third for each of the
three selected providers, Access, Healthcare NZ and the
Australian-owned Royal District Nursing Service New Zealand.
Service and Food Workers Union senior organiser Stevan Briggs
said the workers were on a collective agreement with a top
rate of $17.53 an hour. As well as other benefits, they
receive the recommended Inland Revenue Department mileage
rate of 77c an hour.
He expected workers to retain the same pay and conditions,
although the specifics were being worked through.
''Certainly, the indications to date ... from Southern
District Health Board are, yes, they will keep their same
terms and conditions.''
The workers preferred one provider as a prospective employer
over the other two, he said.
They were ''not happy'' about the changes, he said.
DHB-employed workers were paid ''considerably higher'' than
their colleagues in the private sector, he said.
Funding and finance executive director Robert Mackway-Jones,
in an email, said the service provided short-term care for
clients for up to six weeks after hospital discharge.
Because of the short-term nature of the work, employees could
be split between providers without risking lack of continuity
''I would like to re-emphasise that for clients the new model
of care will result in a better, more flexible service, and
that staff will have better support and more opportunities
for training and career progression,'' he said.
Asked about the mileage rate, Mr Mackway-Jones said the board
was working through the issues with staff.
''We are working through issues around transition with
affected DHB staff. We are committed to ensuring the best
interests of staff and clients are looked after as we move
through the transition process.''
Earlier this week, Access chief executive Graeme Titcombe
acknowledged sector pay rates were ''deplorable''. Access
paid carers between $14 and $16 an hour, and 30c per km for
The changeover to the new providers starts from March 1, with
a four-month transition period.