Rest home pay dispute goes to mediation
Staff at a Three Kings retirement home are heading into mediation talks with their employer next week after a dispute over pay cuts.
Ranfurly House workers picketed last week after being asked to accept pay cuts and a loss of conditions.
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says staff were threatened with redundancy if they didn’t accept pay cuts $100 per week.
‘‘Staff at Ranfurly House are barely earning a living wage as it is – they will be forced below the poverty line if these cuts are implemented,’’ nurses organisation industrial adviser David Wait says.
Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff has expressed his concerns over the proposed cuts.
‘‘The impact that this will have on the morale of staff and possibly on their turn-
of up to over will be damaging, and will in turn affect the spirit of the place and the war veterans themselves.
‘‘It will also impact on the way in which the community perceives the changes occurring at Ranfurly.’’
The retirement home for veterans has been undergoing a major transformation during the past 10 months and is set to open a new aged care facility in October.
The 110-year-old colonial building will also be restored to serve as the village community centre.
Mr Goff supports the changes but says the pay dispute takes the shine off what would have otherwise been a positive redevelopment.
The minister has had a longstanding relationship with the home and says it has always been a special place.
‘‘I can’t believe that the company would take a woman who has worked there 37 years and who earns $17.14 an hour and reduce it to about $16, in line with cutting the wages for all staff.
‘‘Those are long-serving, loyal employees who go above and beyond the call of duty in a physically demanding and mentally demanding job.
‘‘I know that the vets themselves would be disappointed.’’
Spokeswoman Liz Robinson says the nurses’ organisation is hopeful for a quick resolution from Wednesday’s mediation meeting.
‘‘It’s a really good sign they are willing to find a solution for our members and also the residents who want really good care,’’ she says.
Ranfurly House director Graham Wilkinson declined to comment until after the mediation.