Rest home pay dis­pute goes to me­di­a­tion

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

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.

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