Access Community Health: Returning to the bargaining table
23 May 2019
The PSA and E tū bargaining team are hopeful for an improved offer from Access Community Health as they resume mediation today, following a week of nationwide strike actions by Access coordinators, administration, and call centre workers.
"Access’ response to our members’ industrial action last week was disproportionate and reliant on bullying tactics. We are hopeful that by agreeing to return to the bargaining table, they are signalling a willingness to make genuine progress," says Melissa Woolley, PSA assistant national secretary.
The PSA and E tū have not ruled out further industrial action following mediation if the current bargaining stalemate continues.
"Our members have been feeling very frustrated and undervalued at work, and the aggressive behaviour by Access Community Health has only served to strengthen their determination to get a fair offer," Ms Woolley says.
The use of bullying and intimidation tactics included management pitting workers against one another and singling out members following strike action to explain ‘poor work performance’.
In response to the behaviour, the PSA and E tū have written to Ministry of Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield, ACC Chief Executive Scott Pickering, and to the DHBs, calling on them to consider whether the stance taken by Access aligns with their contractual obligations.
"Access are blaming their refusal to raise our members wages on a lack of funding, saying their community and home support care is operated fully under Government funding," says E tū Home Support coordinator Kirsty McCully.
"But this is not on the Government, this is on Access. Taking profit out of public funds while paying low wages to their employees is impermissible."
"Access’ failure to properly invest in their coordination, administration, and call centre workers required to provide home and community support negatively affects their service users, many of whom are vulnerable and reliant on these services to live their lives."