A group of strikers raised a raucous of tooting on Main Rd Stoke, yesterday morning.
Around 30 IDEA services support and administration staff braved the fresh temperatures to stand in front of the Stoke Memorial Hall, holding placards and waving at commuters from 8am to 9.30am.
The strike, organised E tū, the industry union, protested the lack of progress in in bargaining for a new collective agreement.
E tū Industry Co-ordinator Alastair Duncan says negotiations began last October but despite working for seven months, the union has had little response.
“Support staff spend their days enabling New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities to lead the best possible lives. In turn, staff want IDEA to deliver the guaranteed and stable hours that enable the workforce to plan their own lives.”
Nelson Marlborough E tū organiser Corey Wallace says at the heart of the dispute is a call by the workers to raise wages and strengthen job security.
Workers were due a pay rise last October but received “a resounding no” and a ‘service reviews’ process is seeing working hours slashed, with staff forced to work anti-social shifts.
Corey, who ran out of placards for everyone says he is encouraged by the number of strikers that turned up.
“Most of them are on minimal wage so every ten cents means a lot to these people and I guess the number of people here just shows how important it is.
“These guys are passionate about their jobs and very conscious of their clients so taking an hour or so off to strike is a big deal, they’ve come straight from work and will be going straight back to work.”
Corey says this is not the course of action they wanted to take but the union need to get IDEA back around a table to continue negotiations in order to move forward.
If, the nationwide strike does not move IDEA to restart negotiations Corey says further actions will be taken.