No union position on offer for nurses

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Nurses will make up their own minds whether to accept a pay offer from district health boards, without direction from their union.

DHBs made their latest offer in the long-running negotiations over the nurses' multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) this week - which included a 9% pay rise over 15 months, a one-off $2000 payment, and a pledge to employ new staff.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) will hold ratification meetings beginning next Tuesday for union members to vote on the offer.

"... [the] elected negotiation team is not making a recommendation for or against the offer,'' spokeswoman Cee Payne said.

"NZNO's role is to support each and every member to contribute to the collective decision on the DHB MECA ... We know that whatever the majority decide will be right.''

If nurses agree to the DHB proposal, the new contract will run from June 4 2018 to July 31 2020.

If nurses reject the proposal, notice for strike action beginning the week of June 18 will be served.

As well as three 3% wage rises in all scales, the DHB proposal also includes improved salary steps for registered nurses and midwives, better on-call allowances, and an agreement on progressing pay equity negotiations.

"The Ministry of Health has agreed to allocate DHBs an immediate 2% investment in additional nursing and midwifery staff equating to around 500 FTE additional staff and an additional $38 million,'' a document sent by NZNO to all nurses said.

"This is unprecedented and a very positive response to our claim for immediate remedies to provide safe staffing and healthy workplaces.''

However, claims which were not able to be progressed included reductions in the number of hours staff could be required to work on-call, and for staff to be given two full consecutive days off work each week.

"This is a health and safety issue,'' the document said.

"We are considering whether the DHBs' interpretation complies with the MECA and whether there are potential legal options to resolve this outstanding and important issue.''

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

 

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