Still no pay rise for Rosebank workers.
Subject: Collective bargaining (Evaluation)
Medical societies (Services)
Medical societies (Aims and objectives)
Nurses (Practice)
Nurses (Compensation and benefits)
Author: Howard, Steve
Pub Date: 02/01/2009
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: Feb, 2009 Source Volume: 15 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 360 Services information; 220 Strategy & planning; 200 Management dynamics; 280 Personnel administration
Product: Product Code: 9918330 Collective Bargaining; 8622000 Medical Associations; 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 81392 Professional Organizations; 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners SIC Code: 8621 Professional organizations; 8049 Offices of health practitioners, not elsewhere classified
Organization: Organization: New Zealand Nurses Organisation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 194904208
Full Text: Members at Rosebank are still trying to achieve a fair settlement in collective agreement (CA) negotiations initiated almost a year ago. Rosebank is an aged-care residentiaL home and hospital in Ashburton, owned by Stuart Leck through Lexson Investment Ltd, of which Leck appears to be the sole share holder. He is also chairman of the Canterbury Development Corporation.

During the period Leck was refusing to pass on the government's aged-care funding increase, stating he could not afford to as a responsible employer, he and Ecca Tanfana announced they were planning a $25 million office tower in Central Christchurch. (1)

NZNO initiated bargaining at this site back in March 2008, and agreed to hold off bargaining until after the Government budget in May 2008. The budget announced a 3.3 percent increase in funding for aged care, with district health boards clipping 0.5 percent and offering the employers a 2.8 percent increase. Just before the election, the Labour Minister of Health David Cunliffe announced an extra 0.5 percent explicitly for wages.

NZNO's bargaining team has held three bargaining meetings with Leck and attended mediation, with no progress being made. From the beginning Leck, who is using an advocate, offered a nil increase, offering nothing except a cut in allowances. The next offer was the 2.8 percent increase, if all allowances were dropped out of the agreement. At mediation, be later offered an increase of 1.2 percent, if members accepted significant cuts in staffing. Members have been firmly opposed to any cuts in either allowances or staffing, especially in light of NZNO's campaign for safe staffing.

Financial information requested

Financial information was requested by NZNO and the information supplied seems to indicate that Rosebank could easily afford the increases, with the first set of information showing a large increase in operating profit, based on a drop in the wages cost. Leck denies this is the case and offered more information.

Members have twice picketed outside the main gates in their off-duty time. They chose this form of protest so residents were not disadvantaged in any way. Local, central and southern Canterbury newspapers have carried articles and photos of the pickets, and have printed letters from residents' families and from others in Ashburton, which support the members' actions.

Members delivered a flyer, with a letter supporting their claims, to residents' families, to be signed and sent to Leck. They also collected about 200 signatures on a petition to Leck directly. Members were to picketing at the gates on his arrival at the next directors' meeting. Members are also wearing aged-care campaign lanyards and ribbons in the aged-care colours on Fridays, especially during the residents' happy hour.

They have approached the Ashburton mayor Bede O'Malley to ask for support and have met local National MP Jo Goodhew to express their concern. Goodhew, while sympathetic to the need to settle and that pay should reflect experience and training, was firm she would not get embroiled in an employment dispute.

NZNO has requested another bargaining meeting but Rosebank has replied that no possible dates for negotiation have been identified. It has no further offers to make but will consider written proposals from NZNO. NZNO's bargaining team met last month and has sent an amended proposal to the employer to consider. Report by organiser Steve Howard

Reference

(1) Hutching, C. (2008) Garden City scores new $25m office tower. The National Business Review, June 13, 2008. www.nbr.co.nz/article/garden-city-scares-new_25m-office-tower. Retrieved 26/01/09.
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