INDEPENDENT NEWS

Keep Your Nose Out, Mr Gosche

Published: Sat 14 Jul 2007 12:40 AM
Keep Your Nose Out, Mr Gosche
While it's good to see that the Service and Food Workers Union is now negotiating with Spotless Services without involving District Health Boards, these new developments do not change the fact that Labour should not have stuck its nose where it doesn't belong, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.
"As customers of Spotless Services, DHBs had no right to involve themselves in negotiations between the SWFU and Spotless - despite what Labour might think," Mrs Roy said.
"Labour MP Mark Gosche was completely out of order when he lambasted Spotless yesterday - not only was he basing his opinions on information from only one side of the equation, but he was wading into an area he should have kept well clear of.
"Mr Gosche appears to have forgotten that there are two sides to every story and that, as a customer rather than an employer in this matter, DHBs and the Government should not be taking either.
"Spotless has a 'Memorandum of Understanding' with DHBs to pass extra funding on to staff. Spotless has stated it will open its books to auditors to prove that this is the case. Meanwhile, the SWFU directed its members to work only five minutes of each hour of the strike, with temporary workers filling the remaining 55 minutes.
"This would have created a messy situation, with clear health and safety issues that would see patients' safety put at risk; Spotless Services was right to implement the lock-outs - as was the Employment Court right to support the move.
"But this was irrelevant to Labour, as was the fact that it and its agencies have no place in this dispute. Rather, Labour saw this as a chance to repay unions for their support at the last election, and get contractors out of hospitals in line with its blinkered political ideology.
"Contractors offer efficiencies and cost savings that allow more health dollars to go toward treating patients. The Government should be directing DHBs to leave the SWFU and Spotless to sort this issue themselves.
"Labour should also be keeping a tight leash on Mr Gosche and telling him not to throw in his 'two cents' - especially when that two cents was donated solely by the SWFU," Mrs Roy said.
ENDS

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