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IDEA Services employees walked off the job at 9am on Sunday for 24 hours after mediation talks failed to resolve the long running dispute with their employer.

Three thousand members were affected by the dispute which has been running for eight months and has seen six previous strikes including last Sunday’s 12-hour stoppage.

The members are seeking extra pay for senior support workers, weekend penal rates and the protection of key health and safety rights. They are also resisting IDEA Services demands for more flexibility over their rosters.

E tū advocate Alastair Duncan says the strike affected up to 600 residential homes with many unionised workers “having a well-deserved and rare Sunday off to spend with loved ones”.

There were pickets around the country to inform the public about their concerns – particularly IDEA Service’s insistence on being allowed to roster workers anywhere, anytime.

“Under the guise of so called “flexibility” IDEA wants to undermine the job security of the very staff who support vulnerable New Zealanders,” says Duncan.

Penal rates for weekend remains a key claim.

“IDEA’s parent company IHC took away weekend rates during the dreadful days after the Employment Contracts Act became law. It is now time to once again respect the fact that weekend work deserves an extra pay margin,” says Duncan.

In a statement, IDEA Services chief operating officer Joan Cowan said IDEA Services remained committed to achieving a collective agreement for Support Workers and continues to participate fully in negotiations and mediation sessions.

In an effort to break the deadlock, E tū has also applied for a formal facilitation hearing by the Employment Relations Authority, which is due to be heard tomorrow.

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