A nine-month pay dispute at the Oceania rest home group has been settled, workers' representatives say.
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and the Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) said the settlement included a 3.22 per cent pay increase for 1500 union members employed by Oceania.
Overtime and other rights, which Oceania had sought to reduce, have also been protected.
SFWU spokesperson Alastair Duncan said the key issue had been getting government money passed on to the workforce. He said the unions were pleased that Oceania now understood the need to pass on the funding it received from district health boards to care staff.
NZNO spokesperson David Wait said the unions wanted to work with Oceania and other aged care employers to try to persuade the Government to lift funding for what was one of the country's fastest growing industries.
Problems in the elderly care sector were highlighted last month in a report by equal employment opportunities commissioner Dr Judy McGregor.
She said community care workers paid by providers funded by district health boards earned on average $3-$5 an hour less than carers paid directly by district health boards with similar jobs in hospitals.
Her report recommended phasing in pay increases over three years until community-based workers were paid the same as those paid directly by district health boards.
The report followed a year-long inquiry during which McGregor worked undercover in aged-care facilities for a week in January.
In today's statement, the unions said McGregor's inquiry provided a timely opportunity for unions and employers to work together.
Duncan said Oceania was the largest care provider in the sector, and the unions expected it to use its influence with the Government and district health boards.
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