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Government and unions right the wrong for people working in mental health and addiction support

Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff today congratulated the Government, the Public Service Association and E tū – and also providers – on a deal that rightly puts mental health and addiction support workers back into the pay equity settlement they were left out of last year.

“This is something the new Government committed to fix, where the previous Government tried to look the other way. Today is a really positive outcome, brought about by all the parties working together, and it is a good sign for future resolution of similar issues.”

“Mental health and addiction support is vital and often emotionally intense work,” says Wagstaff. “Unfortunately, people working in these roles have been undervalued in the same way as care and support workers. This deal not only makes it fair – it helps prevent a looming crisis in the broader sector, with people switching to aged care for better pay.”

“I’m particularly pleased to see that the offer is backdated to when these people would have been receiving the money they deserved if the National Government had not wrongly left them out of the care and support settlement last year.”

“Putting up to $170 more a week into the pay of low-paid people, mostly women, is a good example of what strong union membership can do in negotiation with Government and employers. Inclusive and well thought-out agreements like this can put fair pay before politics and make sure working people are not short-changed.”