Oranga Tamariki staff today voted in favour of industrial action to turn around what they claim have been persistent low wages and unsafe workloads.
The action comes after members voted to reject a “disappointing pay” offer from management that would have seen real wages go backwards, the Public Service Association (PSA) said in a statement today.
PSA Lead Organiser, Joe McCrory says staff need a “real” cost of living increase, and support for safer workloads.
“Tamariki, rangatahi, and whānau will lose out on the vital support they need if we continue to lose staff and struggle with ongoing vacancies. Asking staff to now take a real cut to their wages is unacceptable,” he said.
“Oranga Tamariki will not successfully fulfil its purpose without addressing the elephants in the room – soaring vacancies, withholding recruitment, and failing to retain experienced kaimahi.”
PSA National Convenor, Helen Foley said staff are “very open to settling the dispute, but management needs to provide a fairer offer”.
“The current cost of living crisis makes the existing issues with recruitment and retention of staff even more difficult to manage,” said Ms Foley.
“We don’t take this action lightly. But we know that the work we do is important and we need to be able to attract and retain staff.”
PSA Hinonga Māngai Māori (National Rūnanga Convenor), Bronny Pegler said that without investing in staff, Oranga Tamariki would struggle to maintain vital support for communities.
“A pay offer which would mean a pay cut in real terms will only make that harder. Recognition of te reo me ōna tikanga and cultural leave is also long overdue,” she said.
“Our hope is that management comes back with a better offer before the strike action is needed.”
The actions members’ voted on include:
- Strike 1 – total strike from 1500 hours (3pm) to 1700 hours (5pm) on Friday 28 October 2022 for all PSA members covered by the collective agreement;
- Strike 2 – total strike from 1500 hours (3pm) to 1700 hours (5pm) on Friday 4 November 2022 for all PSA members covered by the collective agreement;
- Strike 3 – total strike from 1300 hours (1pm) to 1700 hours (5pm) on Thursday 10 November 2022 for all PSA members covered by the collective agreement;
- Strike 4 – total strike from 0001 hours (12.01am) to 2359 hours (11.59pm) on Friday 18 November 2022 for all PSA members covered by the collective agreement.