About a dozen people are picketing at the corner of Cameron Rd and 3rd Ave.

The Tauranga protestors are part of 3000 workers who care for the intellectually disabled in IDEA Services residential care homes joining a nationwide strike from 7am to 11am today.

Motorists are tooting their support at the protestors who are holding signs that read "equal pay", "say no to violence at IHC".

E tū union delegate Nicky Rainford said the union had been in negotiations with IDEA Service for six days and their concerns around health and safety had not been heard.

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"We are here so that IDEA Services know that we feel undervalued, underpaid, and unhappy and all too often unsafe," she said.

Union delegate Tanya Oomen said often workers were put in the position where they were "physically and verbally abused" by those they are caring for.

"It is not every worker, every day, but it is a risk," she said.

A media statement from the union said staff were fed up with feeling overworked and undervalued, with understaffing leaving them working long hours and needing more pay to compensate for time away from family.

IDEA Services chief operating officer, Joan Cowan, said although there would be some disruption to some services, IDEA had ensured people with intellectual disabilities would be safe during strike action.

"Each area has a plan in place, and anyone who has concerns or questions is encouraged to contact their local area office."

She said IDEA Services remained committed to trying to achieve a collective agreement from negotiations with the union representing staff and was listening to them.

"We have been carefully considering all demands, either financial or otherwise, and are continually balancing staff remuneration with other quality improvement priorities."

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