News alert: Pay equity for Oranga Tamariki social workers

26 September 2018

The Methodist Alliance welcomes the landmark pay equity deal for Oranga Tamariki social workers but ask is it really pay equity when social workers in community organisations working alongside Oranga Tamariki have been left out of the agreement.

The three Missions –  Wesley Community Action, Christchurch Methodist Mission and Lifewise  – are significant providers of support to families, youth and children under Oranga Tamariki contracts. Collectively they have a significant number of social workers working with Oranga Tamariki.

Moira Lawler, Chief Executive of Lifewise notes the irony of the approach: “Social workers are a family of professionals trained to help people achieve justice – and this is not just.”

“Our social workers are skilled, passionate and committed. They do the same hard graft Oranga Tamariki staff do, they shouldn’t be disadvantaged for choosing to work with a community organisation,” says Lawler.

Jill Hawkey, Executive Director of Christchurch Methodist Mission, says making community organisations wait nine months risks creating an exodus from the very partners Oranga Tamariki needs.

“NGOs are crucial to achieving the change and innovation we all need to improve the outcomes for whānau and children,” says Hawkey.

Although Minister Tracey Martin has directed Oranga Tamariki to work with the community sector to report on the potential impact, the Missions are concerned how this will happen.

“We are not reassured by this,” says David Hanna, Director of Wesley Community Action. “It was clear what the impact would be from the start. We are calling on the PSA and other unions, and the government to do the right thing now.”

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