Innovative settlement at Calvary.
Subject: Wages (Laws, regulations and rules)
Compromise and settlement (Interpretation and construction)
Hospitals (Central service department)
Hospitals (Labor relations)
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 280 Personnel administration; 930 Government regulation; 940 Government regulation (cont); 980 Legal issues & crime Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation Computer Subject: Government regulation; Salary
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 266344860
Full Text: Union members at Calvary Rest-home and Hospital in Invercargill have secured a potential 4.5 percent pay increase over a year, in negotiations which concluded in June. A two percent pay increase was effective from June 1, with another potential 2.5 percent increase in December, dependent on cost savings.

A cost-savings working party of staff and management has been formed, and any cost savings it finds will be passed on, up to a maximum of 2.5 percent. If cost savings of 2.5 percent cannot be achieved, negotiations will resume in December to secure "a fair proportional increase effective from December 1", according to the new collective employment agreement (CEA).

NZNO organiser Simone Montgomery said the Calvary board was very supportive of achieving a wage increase approaching the Consumer Price Index increase. "This is a significant and enlightened way to think. In other sites, passing on, or not, the 1.72 percent government funding increase is where thinking begins and ends. But the Calvary board thought outside the square on this one," she said.

Montgomery thinks that may be because the board is made up of community members who run their own businesses and who have taken a different approach to the traditional model.

The board contributed the extra 0.28 percent required to make up the two percent increase from the government's 1.72 funding increase. The board then decided to apply a model of total staff involvement in the budget process to try and achieve cost efficiencies of 2.5 percent, which will be passed on to staff as a pay increase.

"This is a highly unusual business situation in aged care, where management often just cuts services and pay. But at Calvary the object is to engage staff in understanding and owning the process. Calvary has always had a policy of high staff numbers and the board does not want to compromise this but to look for efficiencies in other areas. Some of the areas staff are looking at include laundry costs, what activities could be done on site rather than contracted out, joining up with other sites to bulk purchase supplies such as continence products and small things, like changing the brand of rubbish bags, all add up," Montgomery said.

She paid tribute to Calvary's "very supportive" manager Margaret Brown and the board.

'Genuine commitment'

NZNO's aged-care industrial adviser Rob Haultain said the Calvary settlement was a testament to the genuine commitment of the management and board to the staff. "Calvary wants to become a leader in aged care and its management and board know that, to achieve their goal, they must value their staff. We hope their commitment will be an example to other aged-care providers that, with willingness and some innovative thinking, staff can be properly rewarded for their hard work," Haultain said.

Calvary, which has 30 rest-home beds, 37 hospital beds and eight flats, is a highly unionised site, with 56 NZNO members and 10 SFWU members. A bargaining fee of go percent of the relevant NZNO or SFWU subscription is in effect at the site.

As well as the commitment to a significant pay increase, the new CEA, endorsed by an overwhelming majority of members who voted, includes a number of other features:

* employees who do sleepovers will be paid $13 an hour for all the hours of the sleepover;

* the new employment law changes, including the 90-day fire-at-will provision and union access will not be applied;

* a new step in the now five-step pay scale for registered nurses (RN);

* a new consultation and management of change clause; and

* improved wording in a number of clauses.

The two percent increase sees a starting rate for health care assistants of $13.91 an hour, with a top rate of $16.08/hr. Enrolled nurses start on $15.35/hr with a top rate of $20.10/hr. The first step of the RN scale is now $23.30/hr with a merit step of $27.03/hr. The senior cook scale now ranges from $16.12/hr to $17.19/ hr; and the kitchen hand scale from $14.67/ hr to $15.32/hr.

Montgomery sees the most significant aspects of the settlement as the willingness and supportiveness of the management team and the board to pursue excellence in the facility and to back that up with CEA that truly values staff.
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