$2 billion and not one extra service provided

The Herald reports:

Care workers in women-dominated industries will get pay rises worth up to a $5000 a year after a historic settlement with the Government.

In all, the package will cost more than $2 billion and could require a lift in ACC levies or higher fees for aged care residents.

It will cover 55,000 care workers, mostly women, in the aged residential care, home support and disability service sectors.

The settlement comes after a claim brought by E Tu (previously the Service and Food Workers Union) on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett against her employer TerraNova.

It is the first legal settlement in New Zealand which recognises that some jobs pay less because they are done mainly by women.

It’s great of course for those 55,000 workers but I can’t support something that costs $2 billion and doesn’t result in a single extra person being provided care.

Announcing the deal today, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman described it as the largest pay increase in New Zealand’s history.

It would benefit some of New Zealand’s lowest-paid workers, he said. The workforce was mostly female and part-time, with average wages of between $16 and $18 an hour.

As a result of the agreement, carers who were on the minimum wage would receive a pay rise of between 15 and 49 per cent, depending on their qualifications.

A 49% pay increase for no productivity gain. If this was a private sector employer they’d go bust. Instead we’ll just pay more in taxes and ACC levies.

It is probably the biggest victory for unions in the last 30 years.

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