At least 450 Northland District Health Board employees working in a number of areas will receive a significant pay increases of up to 40 per cent following successful negotiations by their unions.
E tū union has signed a multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) with the NDHB that will see more than 120 cleaners, laundry workers, orderlies, catering and security staff get a pay rise of up to 40 per cent to be backdated to June 25 this year.
New workers on the basic scale will start on $20.90 an hour – an increase of 26.7 per cent on the start rates.
E tū hopes to see all members earn a Level 3 qualification which will mean a pay rise from $17.28 to almost $25 by 2021 – an increase of 40.9 per cent.
At the top of the basic grade, wages will lift to $21.25 an hour from June this year – an immediate increase of nearly 10 per cent. This will increase to at least $25.63 over the next three years – which is 30 per cent more than those on the top step of the basic grade earn now.
Another union, the Public Service Association, has this week signed a new settlement that will see pay gains for 324 NDHB workers out of 9000 throughout the country.
The settlement includes minimum pay rises of between 9 per cent to 16 per cent by August 2020 for most of PSA members, with some lower-paid members receiving increases of up to 20 per cent by 2019.
Anaesthetic technicians, audiologists, clinical psychologists, mental health professionals, rehabilitation therapists, renal dialysis technicians, social workers and sonographers are among those covered under the negotiated settlement.
Some anaesthetic technicians belong to another union, Allied Scientific and Technical Union (APEX), which is still negotiating fair pay and working conditions.
E tū member Keri Clark, who works as a laundry assistant at Whangārei Hospital, will see her hourly rate go up to more than $20.
"A lot of us that are covered under the newly-signed agreement are renting, have more than two children and have mortgages to pay so the pay rise will make a huge difference to us," Clark said.
"We've been doing overtime to make ends meet and news of a pay rise is amazing because it's been a long time coming. I personally have never earned $20 an hour."
E tū national hospitals co-ordinator Sam Jones said those on the lowest rates would benefit the most through formal training, with the latest settlement lifting wages for another historically undervalued female-dominated workforce.
"It's a major investment by the DHBs and the government in the lowest paid workers in our public hospitals and helps deliver on the government's promise to lift the living standard of those at the bottom," he says.
Jones said the DHBs' commitment to providing the training workers needed to gain qualifications with higher wage rates "was great news" for his members.
"These jobs are an important entry point into the health service and the promotion of training will enable some to progress in the public health sector making the settlement a real win-win."