Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi expresses its sadness at the passing of former Whanganui MP and Government Minister Chester Borrows.
"Mr Borrows was one of very few from his side of the political spectrum who welcomed the opportunity to get alongside some of New Zealand’s disability support workers. We approached him to shadow a worker for a day, when the campaign for pay equity was in its infancy back in 2009," said PSA National Secretary Kerry Davies.
"Mr Borrows accompanied a worker to their job in a community-based disability service house. He asked compassionate and astute questions about the responsibilities and skills of the work and the positive difference it was making in the lives of the people being supported. He was a supporter of equitable treatment and value for workers, in one of the lowest-paid sectors of the workforce at the time.
"The union’s campaign, Up Where We Belong, successfully challenged the fairness and legality of aspects of the working conditions and pay for disability support workers. Through this work, and with the support of politicians such as Mr Borrows, workers are now paid a wage for sleepovers instead of token allowances, home support workers are paid for time travelling between clients, and an initial pay equity deal was struck.
"The PSA expresses its sympathy to the family of Mr Borrows and pays tribute to his dedication to improving our society throughout his life and career," said Davies.