National bows to union pressure over travel time

National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says.

“This decision is long overdue and the result of strong advocacy by the Service and Food Workers Union and Public Service Association.

“However, this is just one of many issues facing the aged and disability care sectors.

“Labour has plans to solve the problems these workers face and will work alongside the sector to develop an integrated strategy.

“Low wages must urgently be addressed. National continues to ignore the plight of these home-carer workers who do difficult work looking after some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people, often for as little as $14.80 an hour.

“Labour will tackle this head on. In our first 100 days in office we will establish a working group to set a timeframe for moving towards pay parity for nurses and home-care workers.

“We will also look at minimum qualification standards for the aged care workforce and agreed safe staffing levels for residential aged care, dementia care and home and community care.

“A Labour Government is committed to creating a high quality and well-resourced aged and disability care sector,” Iain Lees-Galloway says.