Care workers declare 'escalation' against IDEA Services

care worker
Care and support workers employed by IDEA Services will go on strike again this Sunday. Photo credit: Getty

Care and support workers employed by IDEA Services will go on strike again this Sunday.

Three thousand staff who belong to the E tū union will walk off the job at 8:30am for 12 hours.

"To date we have held a series of one-hour stoppages in an effort to convince IDEA of the need to seriously respond to staff concerns around health and safety, workloads and job security," said union advocate Alastair Duncan, calling this weekend's strike an escalation.

"At IDEA's request we attended additional mediation this week only to find the employer had little constructive to add and only wanted to deal with 'hypothetical' bargaining scenarios, with no firm pay offers."

In March, one employee told the Gisborne Herald many employees were burned out.

"We're working way beyond our hours and are under-staffed," said Marie Thomas. "We get physically and mentally abused by [some of] the people we support. We're lucky one of us has not been killed."

The union says it's applied for a formal facilitation process because the bargaining has become protracted, accusing the employer of bad faith.

Idea Services is owned by IHC. It said in a statement "considerable planning has been undertaken... to ensure we have coverage to support people in our services".

"Wherever possible we are using the same people to cover shifts so that there are as few new faces as possible," said Joan Cowan, chief operating officer of IDEA Services.

"IDEA Services supports around 3000 people at weekends though some will return to family members for the day. Service managers, including me, will be in homes supporting people and national office staff will also be involved where appropriate."