The DHBs’ pay offer to PSA mental health nurses is to be voted on next month in a series of ratification meetings, after the green light was given by the nurses’ bargaining team.

The pay talks for around 3500 DHB mental health nurses, public health nurses and support workers belonging to the Public Service Association got underway last year but were one of a number of talks stalled by the protracted negotiations between the 20 DHBs and NZNO.

Details of the offer are still to be released but it is understood to be similar to the precedent-setting offer accepted in early August by the NZNO’s DHB members. That offer was for a lump sum payment plus the equivalent of a 3 per cent pay increase per year, along with extra pay steps on the basic pay scales. It also included a stepped-up commitment to safe staffing and reaching a pay equity settlement ready to start implementing from the end of 2019.

Ashok Shankar,a PSA national organiser for the DHB sector, said ratification meetings were due to start around the country on Monday October 8 and the fine details of the offer would be available to members by Monday October 1.

He said it included a commitment from DHBs to pay equity for PSA nurses but the process was still to be sorted. Shankar pointed to the recent PSA negotiated $114m pay equity settlement for Oranga Tamariki social workers that will see an average lift in salaries of 30.6 per cent over a two-year period.

The first of the PSA nursing multi-employer collective agreements (MECAs) – covering all of the country except the Auckland region – expired on September 30 last year and the Auckland MECA expired in mid-December. The two PSA nursing MECAs cover workforces with a current combined annual payroll of around $217 million.

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