A 15,000 signature petition was presented to the district health boards yesterday by nursing union NZNO in support of its call for a better pay deal.
Following mediation in late January the New Zealand Nurses Organisation are waiting for the 20 DHBs to consider whether they can come back with a new offer by February 26.
The online petition was launched by NZNO in December after members voted to reject the DHBs’ initial multi-employer collective agreement (MECA).
NZNO Industrial Adviser Lesley Harry said nurses want to achieve pay rates and conditions that led to sustainable workforce and healthy workplaces.
She said any new offer needed to deliver improvements on the key issues – including a improved pay offer, safe staffing cand a firmer timeframe for pay equity – if it was to be accepted by members.
NZNO delegates Sarah Gilbertson and Karen Durham presented the petition to DHBs’ advocate Kevin McFadgen and said pay and conditions had to improve in order to sustain a quality health care service.
The pair said the issue was about recognising and rewarding a predominately female workforce. “The outcome of these negotiations is a reflection on our society and the value we place on health. Well supported health teams improve the health of all New Zealanders.”
NZNO has set up a series of MECA meetings between March 6-23 for its 27,000 registered nurse, enrolled nurse, midwife and health care assistant members covered by the NZNO/DHB MECA.
Prior to mediation the union indicated that it would not rule out using the March meetings to vote on industrial action, if a deal couldn’t be reached that it believed members would be ready to accept.
Late last month Health Minister David Clark told Nursing Review that he understood nurses’ and other health workers hopes for better salaries under the new Government but the was reality was that “not everyone’s expectations will be met”.
Dear District Health Board Chief Executives
‘Nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants are the heart of our public healthcare services. Their skills, hard work and compassion keep all New Zealanders happy, safe, and healthy. I support better pay and healthy workplaces in our public healthcare services for our precious nursing and midwifery teams. Please keep our local health services safe and sustainable by delivering our nurses a better deal.’