Around 800 hosiptal workers who are members of the Service and Food Workers’ Union (SFWU) were locked out of hospitals in Invercargill, Timaru, Palmerston North, Hawkes Bay, Wanganui, Rotorua, Gisborne, Tauranga, Auckland and Northland.
The workers had been campaigning for their employer, Spotless Services, to sign up to a national pay deal that would deliver $16 million worth of pay rises to over three thousand low paid hospital workers.
“After a year of intense political lobbying and months of bargaining, all other employers in the sector, except Spotless, have reached an understanding over the pay rates with the union,” says union spokesperson, Alastair Duncan.
“Spotless, who pay the lowest wages in the industry, is now frustrating the roll-out of a national pay scale. The District Health Boards and the three contractors, ISS, OCS and Compass have accepted the new scale but Spotless is holding out. These are the actions of a rogue employer.”
On Wednesday at midnight Spotless locked out it’s union member employees leaving hospitals on skeleton staff ratios. The hospital orderlies, kitchen workers and cleaners around the country are now looking for support from union members around New Zealand to help end the lockout.
There’s heaps more coverage of the issue in all New Zealand media including for instance this NZPA coverage as well as the Wanganui District Health Board which had locked out staff arrested, Invercargill Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, on the picket line with union members and the SFWU’s video coverage of members on the picket line.