Petone care and support workers rally – speech

Kia ora koutou, my name is Melissa Woolley and I am a PSA assistant secretary.

I want to acknowledge everyone for coming today. We have representatives from Grey Power, the employers of care and support workers, our sister unions NZNO and E tū, but most of all I want to acknowledge all the workers here today – YOU are why we are here today.

I’ve been a support worker, I know how hard you work, I know how important your work is to clients and the peace of mind you give to families. You are important and your work is important. I know the work you do. I know it includes toileting people, supporting people to have a shower, changing stoma bags and essential medical care; supporting people to be as independent as they can be in their own homes. The impact of your work on clients and families is much more than you will ever know. That’s why we are here today.

Less than 70 cents an hour is not enough. We know it costs a lot to fill up your car with petrol, costs a lot to put food on the table for you and your family. That is why we are here today.

The care and support worker settlement was historic as it finally started to value you for the important and essential work you do. But that historic settlement expires on 1 July 2022. So far, the offer is less than 70 cents an hour. The only thing you will get at the supermarket for that is a Chupa Chup. You deserve more. A Chupa Chup will not feed you or your families. That’s why we are here today.

70 cents wont pay the rent, 70 cents won’t make a dent. You can’t live on Chupa Chups! We are calling on the government to value the work you do such as supporting people to shower, go to the toilet, providing essential healthcare and enabling people to reach their potential and live as independently as possible. That’s why we need this offer increased urgently and that is why we are here today.

Thank you.

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