Idea Services staff to strike on Monday after attempts at mediation fail

Dunedin and Otago staff at Idea Services, the operational arm of IHC, will take part in a four-hour national strike next Monday, after the failure of mediation efforts for nearly 3000 staff.

More than 90 members of the Etu union in Dunedin, and a further 25 members in Oamaru and Balclutha would also take part in the strike, a union organiser said yesterday.

Etu industry co-ordinator Alastair Duncan said Idea Services had ''refused to budge'' on key union claims to lift wages and conditions.

Union members, who provide residential care for the intellectually disabled, are seeking higher pay for senior service workers, weekend pay rates and action on what they call ''unsafe staffing levels''.

Mr Duncan said Idea wanted to cut ''current conditions'', and also to ''undermine'' job security, using the mantra of so-called 'flexibility'.

The strike begins at 7am next Monday, and will involve pickets and protests in metropolitan and rural New Zealand.

Idea chief operating officer Joan Cowan said the strike would affect support and administration staff throughout the country.

Each area was now ''putting careful contingency plans in place''.

''We want to let people know that some of their services may change or be delayed on the day of industrial action,'' she said.

Management had attended mediation on Monday, had ''listened to our staff'' and had been ''carefully considering all demands, either financial or otherwise''.

Idea remained committed to ''trying to achieve a collective agreement'', she said.

Idea supported more than 4000 people in services throughout the country, she said.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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