PSA Pasefika union members have been voicing their support for the Pasefika community during the latest Covid outbreak.
NZ Council of Trade Unions Komiti Pasefika co-convenor and former PSA Pasefika co-convenor Brian Palalagi has responded to the negative portrayal on some social media platforms of community members who have contracted the virus.
“We know that Covid-19 is a tricky virus which doesn’t discriminate who it infects, and neither should we,” Brian says.
The PSA Pasefika Komiti is urging community members who are not well to get tested.
“There is no stigma or shame in being tested for Covid-19. A negative test provides assurance that you and your family are safe.
“Where there is a positive result then it is about following the correct procedures to make sure our families are safe and well. Our families are the most precious taonga.”
The Komiti’s view is that people should be accommodated with full pay if they need to take time out to get tested so they can help stamp out the virus in the community.
It says increasing the allocation of sick leave, as promoted in the CTU Safer Sick Leave petition is particularly important for the Pasefika community at this time.
“There is a fear that without adequate sick leave, they will lose pay and won’t be able to provide for their families if they need to take time off for testing, or if they get sick,” say Komiti co-convenors Ulualofaiga Mareko and 'Ofeina Manuel-Barbarich.
“Our Pacific families aren’t nuclear, there are often mums, dads, aunties and grandads in a household so if someone gets sick or loses income it effects many more people. That’s the nature of our community.”
The Komiti encourages members who are concerned about how being tested could affect your work, to talk to your union organiser or delegate.
PSA Pasefika is also concerned about the economic impact of the pandemic on the community, including rising unemployment. This is forcing some students to drop out of school to support their families.
"This could affect the future employment of these young people if they end up on the treadmill of low paid work."
Students and teachers in the community are also worried about expanding their bubbles when they return to school.