Three thousand care and support workers employed by IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC, have voted to strike on 1 April.
E tū industry co-ordinator Alastair Duncan says members voted overwhelmingly to strike after five months of challenging bargaining, during which IDEA has failed to respond positively to key workforce and safety concerns.
“Support workers at IDEA do an extraordinary job of supporting young and old people with intellectual disabilities,” says Alastair.
“Every day and every night, seven days a week, staff go the extra mile. Just once a year we ask IDEA to reflect that contribution by working together to improve the working conditions of staff.”
Alastair Duncan says union members have sought a greater voice on health and safety, and recognition for working weekends as well as the restoration of responsibility margins.
“IDEA responded by wanting to cut sick leave accumulation, force staff to move workplaces without agreement or notice and simply refused to consider recognition that staff are required to work anti-social hours.”
Alastair says IHC operates the same business model as for-profit care providers, spinning off its financially successful property division from its operational arm.
“IHC is a major landlord and property company that depends on its care staff. It is tragic to see them ignoring their own workforce.
“IHC has a strong and growing asset base but refuses to do the smart thing and allow its property arm to support its operational arm.”
Alastair says staff are concerned that IDEA has dug its heels in leaving them little choice but to take what is lawful, modest but important industrial action.
The union is seeking urgent mediation but if the strike goes ahead, will be holding nationwide high-profile pickets.
“Support workers will be reaching out to families and the community to work with us to persuade IDEA to do the right thing and respect it’s staff,” he says.
Alastair Duncan says IHC locked its staff out of weekend pay and other allowances in the 1990’s and it is now well past time to return what was stolen.
The strike will begin at 7.00 am and affect several hundred residential, vocational and secure homes and facilities.
For further information contact Alastair Duncan on 027 245 6593.