Thousands of support and administration workers will strike this week to protest a lack of progress in bargaining for job security.
About 3000 staff from the operational arm of IHC said they would walk off the job for an hour at 8.30am on Thursday to protest the lack of progress in negotiating a new collective agreement.
IDEA Services workers had been negotiating via the E tu union for two new collective employment agreements since October last year.
Workers wanted to strengthen job security and health and safety rights.
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E tu co-ordinator Alastair Duncan said the union had worked for seven months to persuade IDEA to respond to concerns from members but had little response.
“Support staff spend their days enabling New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities to lead the best possible lives. In turn staff want IDEA to deliver the guaranteed and stable hours that enable the workforce to plan their own lives,” he said in a statement.
Union memberssaid the decision to strike was partly prompted by disability support providers’ planned service cuts, announced on March 23, which would affect about five per cent of staff.
“Staff are right to be concerned about their jobs and the impact on the people they support,” Duncan said.
Duncan said the workers were due a pay rise in October and that last week’s news of a possible Equal Pay settlement had prompted more pressure from workers on IDEA.
“The Equal Pay settlement will change lives but that is still months away and the needs are now.”
IDEA Services chief operating officer Janine Stewart said in a statement: “We are yet to agree a Collective Employment Agreement for Support Workers. Pay Equity has been the major reason for the delay. Now that an announcement has been made we hope to be able to agree a collective soon.”
“IDEA Services has plans in place to ensure no one we support is adversely affected by strike action.”