Community Support

With 8,000 members in community support this is one of the fastest growing sectors of our union. The workforce includes those working in residential aged care, home care, disability support and social services in a range of hands ­on and support roles. Community support is a growth sector of the NZ economy but a history of underfunding and gender-­based pay discrimination means few workers are properly valued for the work the demanding and skilled work they do.

With women making up most of the sector E tū is leading the fight against gender-­based pay discrimination. E tū member and equal pay hero Kristine Bartlett has taken a landmark legal action that has reinterpreted the 1972 Equal Pay Act winning the case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 2016 we are working with unions are in negotiations with employers and the government to turn the vistory into a settlement that lifts wages to as much as $26 an hour.

Read more about the Equal Pay campaign [link]

Aged care

We represent around 4,000 members in residential aged care and home support. With an aging population in New Zealand, aged care is one of our growth industries. Our members work for major corporate employers such as BUPA, Metlifecare, Oceania, Summerset and Access, as well as religious and community providers such as Presbyterian Support. Union agreements set the benchmark for two thirds of the sector so reaching out to non union staffis an important part of our organising in both residential and home support.

While low pay is the most significant issue that needs addressing, E tū is also focused on safe staffing levels and proper training opportunities for the care and support staff across the sector.

Along with our successes in the Equal Pay campaign we’ve already secured won in-­between travel time payments for home support workers and later this year guaranteed hours will be under the spotlight.

Disability support/mental health/social services

Another 4000 plus members work in disability support and mental health with large employers such as IDEA Services, CCS Disability Action and PACT as well as smaller local and community based providers.

In recent years we have had huge wins for our members in disability support including winning better pay rates for staff required to sleepover at work. Our victory resulted in backpay and annual increases of over $60 million.

Disability support workers are now included in the equal pay negotiations and we’ll be pushing to extend any settlement to mental health and social services.

E tū is also campaigning to raise awareness about the disability support sector and the complexity and responsibility of the work. Disability support workers are some of the unsung heroes of our communities and play the vital role of helping people with disabilities live comfortably and reach their full potential.

Selwyn Foundation E tū members celebrate their ongoing campaign for decent wages.

Vote today on strike action by thousands of Idea support workers

IDEA Services support workers will begin voting today on possible strike action.

E tū advocate, Alastair Duncan says the vote, by more than 3000 support workers, will be held at 80 stop work meetings around the country over the next two weeks.

He says this follows five months of frustrating negotiations.

Supreme Court to hear respite care employment case

Tomorrow, E tū will present its case to the Supreme Court in Wellington for basic employment rights for respite care workers.

The union has been granted leave to appeal a Court of Appeal ruling last August which reversed an Employment Court decision granting carers these rights.

E tū says no more delays over equal pay

E tū says it’s time to treat the women of New Zealand right, and there should be no more government delays over equal pay.


Today marks the official launch of a fresh campaign on equal pay, with the release of the Council of Trade Union video, “Treat her Right”.


Staff at Gateway Housing Trust urge rethink on job losses

Workers at Nelson-based Gateway Housing Trust will present an open letter to the Trust’s board today urging a rethink of its plans to cut staff and restructure services.

The Trust provides in-house and out-reach services for people with mental illness across the upper South Island. 

Equal Pay Care and Support Sector Update

Regular negotiation meetings are now occurring every week with the Government over a proposed settlement for delivery of equal pay to the care and support sector. The Government negotiators have continued to reaffirm their commitment to reaching a settlement.