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Christchurch health workers to protest payment delays – NZNO

On Monday, health care workers in Canterbury Waitaha will protest the ongoing, almost eight-year delay in the payment of their holiday pay and other leave owed to them.

At 12 noon, members of New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) will gather opposite Christchurch Hospital’s ED/Waipapa building to voice their frustrations against the delays in the Holidays Act remediation payments.

NZNO Christchurch delegate Allister Dietschin called on Te Whatu Ora to make the payouts as soon as possible and urged the Government to make the employer set a deadline and stick to it.

“Te Whatu Ora had previously been told by the Government that they expected this work to be finished by the middle of 2023, but here we are seven months later, and they are still dragging the chain.

“More than 302,000 workers are being owed about $2b, but the length of time this has taken, and fresh delays are unacceptable.

“To make matters worse, last year Te Whatu Ora removed expected remediation dates from their reporting, leaving workers blind as to when they are going to be finally paid.

“This demonstrates a lack of respect from their employer.

“Canterbury Waitaha members are exasperated with the excuses Te Whatu Ora keeps making about payroll dysfunctions, they just want to be paid what they are owed.

“Imagine the frustration of having to wait nearly eight years after being told your employer was non-compliant and paid you incorrectly for your leave, you’re expecting reimbursement but are consistently being told to wait longer. We still have no idea when we will actually be paid.

“This treatment of its staff only reflects how little regard Te Whatu Ora has for their health and wellbeing, especially with the cost of living increasing, placing more financial stress on those trying to make ends meet.”

Canterbury Waitaha has a frustrating record of payment delays which has seen members come out to protest several times in the past.

Last month, NZNO lodged a complaint about the delays in Holidays Act payments with Minister of Health Hon Dr Shane Reti which was acknowledged but a fuller response has not been received.

“Unfortunately, our communities pay the price for Te Whatu Ora’s failures with frustrated health workers leaving the profession in New Zealand,” Dietschin said.

Background information

The Labour Inspectorate of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment identified in 2016 that there were issues with DHB (now Te Whatu Ora) payroll systems and its compliance with the Holidays Act. These meant that some employees weren’t receiving anywhere near their correct leave entitlements.

The NZ Council of Trade Unions wrote to the DHBs in May 2016 proposing a process to review DHBs’ compliance with the Holidays Act and to take a national approach to resolving issues of non-compliance. The then DHBs, now Te Whatu Ora regions, continue to work through the process at varying rates, but at a rate that NZNO considers unjust and harmful to the wellbeing of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

 

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