Nearly 1500 Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) members will receive a 2% pay increase from tomorrow thanks to the breakthrough negotiations between the three biggest unions in the public health sector.
The Nurses Organisation, Public Service Association and SFWU, which cover 43,000 District Health Board employees, have combined together to negotiate a common pay increase and processes for dealing with the proposed DHB restructuring.
SFWU National Secretary John Ryall said that over 98% of SFWU members (employed as orderlies, food service workers, cleaners, security guards and DHB-employed home support workers) voted for the proposed deal in order to give some immediate stability to public health workers and patients during a period of change.
"We are concerned that some of the structural changes currently being proposed have the potential to undermine our public health system. We are confident that with this settlement health workers will be fully involved in the change process," said John Ryall
The national settlement has meant that SFWU members, who are some of the lowest paid public hospital workers, will get 2% in addition to an existing service step increase of about 4% from a collective agreement that expires on 31 December 2010.
The SFWU expects the four public hospital contractors, who employ an additional 1300 SFWU members, to sign up for the same deal.