7 Mar 2012

Second strike by aged care workers

6:45 am on 7 March 2012

Aged care workers holding further strike action say the pay offer from their employer is a kick in the teeth from a company that will get $1.4 million from the Government this year.

About 1500 employees of of New Zealand's largest rest-home chain, Oceania Group, were stopping work for six hours on Wednesday.

It is the second time in a little over a week that staff have taken action in their pay dispute, in which employees want a 3.5% rise and Oceania is offering 1%.

Union delegate Vicky Taylor says Oceania is offering less less than other aged care workers have already received.

She says the lowest pay rate is $13.61 per hour - 11 cents above the minimum wage - and that staff are being forced to work more than 40 hours a week to make ends meet, which is compromising safety.

The union said 21 rest homes would be affected by the latest industrial action.

Last week, Oceania chief executive Guy Eady said Government money to pay for aged care has not included a cost of living adjustment for years, and it cannot afford to pay staff more.

Mr Eady said the sector received funding less than the Consumer Price Index last year and he expected the situation to be the same this year.