Support worker hopes fair pay system will make lives better

They clean New Zealand's streets and offices, stock supermarket shelves, drive us to work and care for our elderly. However, they are among the country's lowest-paid workers. 

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The Government policy allows unions to negotiate on an industry-wide basis. Source: 1 NEWS

But, yesterday, the Government announced it is putting in place a fair pay system which will put collective bargaining centre stage.

The policy, which Labour has been pushing for since 2017, will essentially see a floor put under wages, allowing unions to negotiate on an industry-wide basis. 

If an agreement is reached under the new system, all workers will benefit. 

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Until now, only those whose employers were part of the bargaining would benefit.

Support worker Louise Lin told 1 NEWS she is really excited, as she thinks it may change things for the better. 

"It’s not the hours that make the job hard, it’s the amount of emotional labour a person puts in.

"Like the grief you go through when a client dies and the stress you go through when a client goes to hospital and you are calling an ambulance, or when someone’s really depressed and they’re telling you how bad their life is," she said.

"Your job is to listen. That’s the type of thing that doesn’t get reflected in our remuneration."

Although Lin was unsure how fair pay system would work in practice, she said she was hopeful support workers' lives would become better because of it.