The #HealthNeedsNursing rallies are gaining momentum with four rallies planned for tomorrow’s Black Friday from Whangarei in the north to Dunedin in the South.
The sun came out for today’s late morning rally at Waitakere Hospital – the third site in the New Zealand Nurses Organisation campaign which kicked off on Monday with a rally at Wellington Railway Station. That was followed by two rallies at Middlemore Hospital on Tuesday –a damp morning rally that had about 100 supporters and an even larger rally in the afternoon.
NZNO Waitakere member Diane McCulloch said in advance of today’s rally that the recent bad weather in Auckland would not put anyone off as members had “waited long enough” to be heard.
“Unsafe staffing levels for us is a huge problem and we want the public to know that we are working in these conditions,” said McCulloch. “I don’t feel we are properly recognised for the work we do for people in our care and the wages have been stuck for too long.
A number of rallies were added to the campaign yesterday (see list below) with now 23 sites across the country taking part in the campaign that follows NZNO’s district health board nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants last month voting to reject the 20 DHBs’ pay offer as falling short of making up for underfunding and understaffing in the health system.
Ashley Bloomfield, a spokesperson for the 20 district health boards who are currently in a pay talks stalemate with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, stressed that patient services would not be affected by the rallies underway over the next two next weeks including protests outside hospitals.
Cee Payne, NZNO’s industrial services manager, said this week that the campaign would be not be affected by the planned announcement this week on the Prime Minister’s proposal for an independent panel to help resolve the dispute and address pay equity and workload issue.
“We are not going to stop is the message,” said Payne. She said the union was buoyed by the public support for the campaign which was aimed at encouraging the government to “prioritise rebuilding a quality health system” by investing in nursing.
NZNO #HealthNeedsNursing Rallies*
April 13 Whangarei Hospital
April 13 Hagley Park, Christchurch
April 13 Wellington Hospital
April 13 Dunedin Hospital
April 14 Wairarapa (Masterton Rose Gardens)
April 14 Whanganui (Taupo Quay)
April 17 Gisborne Hospital
April 18 Wairau Hospital
April 18 Southland Hospital
April 18 Hutt Valley Hospital
April 19 Nelson Hospital
April 19 Buller Hospital
April 19 Tauranga Hospital
April 19 Auckland City Hospital
April 19 Greymouth Hospital
April 20 North Shore Hospital
April 20 Waikato Hospital
April 20 Whakatane Hospital
April 21 Palmerston North Hospital
April 23 Hastings Hospital
More details on times and locations at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/healthneedsnursing/events/