IHC sleepover staff not slumber party attendees

The Alliance Party today called on IHC to stop treating its sleepover staff like slumber party attendees by paying them a full hourly rate for each hour worked.

“We believe that IHC by refusing to pay workers the minimum wage for sleepovers is treating its support staff doing this like slumber party attendees who merely do so to give clients some social company at night. This is not the case as they perform crucial work which helps support clients in their homes at night,” says Alliance Party Disabilities spokesperson Chris Ford.

That is why the Alliance Party is supporting this coming week’s sleepover ban by IHC-based Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) members. The plan to escalate ongoing industrial action in this way, while regrettable, was also a sign that workers are at their wits end with the intransigent attitude of IHC management.

“In saying this, we realise the significant funding pressures being faced by IHC. However, we support statements made by the SFWU which hold that IHC should be passing the government funding increase granted last year onto workers,” said Mr Ford.

The party feels that the refusal to grant IHC support workers a cost of living based pay increase is another insult at a time when a proposed GST increase will push ordinary family budgets to stretching point. Any pay increase will assist in staff retention and recruitment as well. These are both significant problems in the disability support sector which while having limited effect on management, places horrendous pressure on workers with unacceptable staff/resident ratios meaning that staff have to work long hours to ensure that the care and support needs of residents are not compromised.

“We acknowledge the funding issues which bedevil the disability sector but at the same time IHC needs to put both its staff and client’s needs first. This is the case as without staff, services which enable people with intellectual disabilities and their families to live quality lives in the community could not be delivered. IHC needs to involve the union in any further push for greater funding which will ensure that the organisation can meet its obligations.”

The Alliance Party noted its commitment to increase disability support funding so that all workers within the disability support workforce would be able to enjoy fair wages and conditions.

Paul Henry deserves sack from TVNZ

The Alliance Party is supporting IHC’s stand against Paul Henry and is encouraging TVNZ to sack their errant broadcaster.

Alliance Party disabilities spokesperson Chris Ford has said that Mr Henry’s latest outburst should see him out of public broadcasting.

“In what can only be described as a new low for public broadcasters in New Zealand, Paul Henry giggled like an ignorant schoolboy as he read out how British singer Susan Boyle became impaired at birth as a result of oxygen deprivation and described her as ‘retarded’. This is an outdated term to describe learning/intellectual impairment and it has recently become a term of abuse which is used in a negative and subjective manner against people with intellectual and learning disabilities,” said Mr Ford. Continue reading