A priority for the negotiating team was to ensure union members received the district health board (DHB) aged-care funding increase of three per cent for 2020.
A three per cent increase, backdated to July 1, 2020, and an increase to a minimum rate of $20.40 on April 1, 2021, has been awarded to all service workers. These include all kitchen workers, cleaners, laundry workers and maintenance workers. Increases for this group were a priority for the union team as they negotiated with Heritage on the 2020 DHB funding increase. We are delighted our colleagues are able to move off their previous low/minimum wages.
While we think it is good that we have been able to negotiate a minimum Heritage rate that is ahead of the minimum wage, we will continue to work on making sure there is a wage progression process in a collective agreement (CA), as there will be for all other workers at Heritage.
The new EN scale is based on length of service, with a third step available by appointment and with interRAI training. Step one, up to three years’ service, is now $27 per hour. An EN with more than three years’ service will now be paid $28 an hour. Pay increases are backdated to July 1, 2020.
The ability to recruit and retain nurses (particularly RNs) is a significant issue in the aged-care sector. This has meant that the wage scale we have been able to negotiate with Heritage has targeted increases towards RNs. The new hourly rates range from $30 an hour for a first-year RN who is interRAI trained and has a first aid certificate, up to $38 for an RN with more than six years’ service and by invitation only. Wage increases for 2020 will be based on service with Heritage Lifecare and any immediate employer predecessor.
NZNO will continue working towards settling a Heritage collective agreement (CA). We will be working with RN union members in the coming months to make sure the progression through the pay scale is achievable.
The union negotiating team advocated strongly for an increase for those covered by the pay equity workers’ settlement in 2020. Heritage was not willing to offer any pay increases for this group of workers this year. We believe this is unfair given the incredible work all aged-care workers have done in 2020. Focus for those workers covered by pay equity will move to making sure that union members are supported to gain health and wellbeing qualifications so they are able to move up the pay scale (the current top rate is $25.50 and will be $27 in July 2021); and continuing to work on getting a Heritage CA in place so we can achieve improvements to other conditions (eg weekend rates and overtime).
We will be surveying union members later this month to find out what their priorities are for securing a CA.