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Oceania Group says it acknowledges the frustrations of healthcare workers at 20 of the company’s 59 senior living and care facilities, but says a 3 percent wage increase offer put to staff is fair and reasonable, and in line with the government funding increase.
Chief Executive Guy Eady reiterated that a 3 percent increase in a worker’s hourly rate over 15 months has been offered and the company is open to continue talking to the unions to resolve the current impasse.
Today’s two-hour industrial action was well-managed by the individual facilities, with Oceania bringing on additional staff to ensure minimal disruption to elderly residents.
“Funding increases from successive Governments over past years have been less than the rate of inflation each year. Oceania is committed to passing on what the Government provides to the staff, and this is all we can realistically provide. Operators received less than CPI last year, and will receive less than CPI this year.
“In the long-term, we can’t keep operating with increases less than the rising cost of living, and that’s why the government is now looking to rectify the funding situation,” Mr Eady said.
“The aged-care sector will come under huge pressure as the country’s baby boomers continue to reach retirement age. An aged-care bubble over the next 20 years is going to be a challenge for the finances of New Zealanders, and operators, unions, staff and the Government will need to work together to meet this challenge for us all.”
Stable, adequate funding from the Government is necessary to ensure long-term investment is found to meet the growing demand expected over the next two decades and we are motivated to work in partnership with them to come up with a solution.
“We value all of our staff and the fantastic job they do every day to provide care to our elderly residents. I thank them for the commitment and passion they bring.” Mr Eady thanked non-union staff and residents for their patience during the industrial action.
Oceania is ready to meet with the union after the industrial action to resolve this as quickly as possible and to ensure the safety and security of our most vulnerable New Zealanders, Mr Eady said.