Worth the wait - mental health and addiction support workers get equal pay

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Mental health and addiction support workers have been rewarded for their patience - with their long fight for equal pay finally over.

The Government has confirmed the care and support settlement will be extended to these workers.

An estimated 5000 workers will get a pay rise, backdated to 1 July 2017, the date of the original $2 billion settlement.

"Our members in mental health and addiction support were unfairly left out of the original settlement," PSA Assistant National Secretary Kerry Davies says.

"The mental health and addiction support sector urgently needs more staff, and this should help to recruit and retain skilled and dedicated workers.

"The Labour-led Government has made good on its commitment to work with unions and employers to deliver where the National Government failed.

"Our members stood together and now they’re getting what they deserve."

PSA Mental Health Committee co-convenor Pollyanna Alo says mental health and addiction support workers like her will feel valued for the work they do.

"This means everything to me," she says.

"Now support workers throughout New Zealand are now able to feed their families, put petrol in the car and just enjoy the odd treat without a stranglehold on their finances."

E tū Equal Pay Coordinator, Yvette Taylor says the deal is a promise kept by the new Government.

"We know from speaking to our members in this sector that many earn too little to live decently.

"This will be a relief, and a recognition of the vital work they do in our communities.

"The Government has made mental health a priority and valuing these workers is crucial to the success of these services."

Ratification meetings for all mental health and addictions support workers will now be held around New Zealand so workers can vote on the settlement.

"We would urge everyone to attend to hear about and vote on this historic offer," Ms Taylor and Ms Davies say.