Metlifecare Merivale staff rally against “unsafe” job cuts

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Feb 23, 2024 |

Employees at Metlifecare have rallied outside their workplace in Merivale this afternoon to voice objections to proposed job reductions, saying the layoffs would compromise care provided to residents.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation expressed opposition to the employer’s intended restructuring, which would result in the termination of four essential caregiving positions.

A staff member disclosed to Chris Lynch Media that the management initially issued a one-week notice for the changes, but had to reconsider their decision after facing a backlash from the concerned parties.

VIDEO: Metlifecare Merivale staff rally against “unsafe” job cuts

“They’ve cut staff working hours at all staffing levels from full-time to part time and a number of most senior staff will be made redundant.

“Pay increases are continually stalled by management, who don’t seem to understand what an employment contract is or what good faith bargaining means.

“It is just ‘take it or leave it’ attitude.

New staff rosters will be at unsafe levels for dealing with dementia patients.”

Employees at Metlifecare rallied outside their workplace in Merivale

A Metlifecare spokesperson said the really was “extremely disappointing to us, given the constructive and open manner in which NZNO and Metlifecare had been collaborating in the process to date.

“Metlifecare is committed to ensuring safe staffing, and we have applied significant expertise in the design of the proposed changes at Merivale Care Home.

“The total number of caregivers at Merivale is currently 26. Any mention of redundancies is not confirmed and is still to be negotiated, however, our proposal suggested four carer roles may be disestablished.

“The facts of the matter are, that we were substantially overstaffed at this village and our proposal brings us back to widely regarded and accepted safe staffing levels” the Metlifecare spokesperson said.

 “The rosters and staffing revisions we have proposed align with the clinical needs of our aged resident care resident community. We take this matter extremely seriously and would never compromise the clinical care, safety, and support for residents.”

NZNO organiser Teri Essex

But NZNO organiser Teri Essex said “we think that this is going to have a significant impact on the quality of care of residents and the safety of staff as well.

“It’s also going to have a flow on effect for our registered nurses, and it puts the practice at risk, eventually flowing onto residents, meaning that they get less quality.

Essex rejected the suggestion that Metlifecare Merivale was overstaffed.

“We have a good overall of the sector, and we have never heard of a facility being overstaffed.”

Some of the them are long standing workers, up to 17 years and they’re incredibly hurt and distressed by this proposal.

The Metlifecare spokesperson said “the aged care sector as a whole has faced many years of Government funding challenges.

“Now like other businesses we are also dealing with economic headwinds, therefore we believe all parties should be working together in good faith to find constructive solutions.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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