Nurses strike begins: What you need to knowby RNZ
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) rejected the latest pay offer from their DHB employers and are on strike for 24 hours.
Here is everything you need to know:
Who's on strike?
- Up to 29,500 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants working for district health boards.
- These people are estimated to comprise 60 to 70 percent of the DHBs' hospital workforce. Canterbury DHB estimates around 90 percent of its nursing workforce is eligible to strike.
- In total, the nurses' union (NZNO) has 50,00 members, 29,500 of whom are covered by the multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) governing DHB-employed hospital nurses and midwives.
When is it on?
- From 7am this morning until 7am tomorrow morning.
Why are they striking?
- Nurses have rejected four pay offers from DHBs in just over a year.
- The latest offer boosted the minimum pay increase nurses would receive from 9 percent to 12.5 percent, but delays the time taken for the pay rises to take effect.
- DHBs and the government have maintained there was no more money available for nurses' pay negotiations.
- The Nurses Organisation is recommending the improved offer which includes pay increases of 12.5 to 15.9 percent, to be rolled out over 25 months.
- Strike action was also scheduled for early July but was called off because the DHB offer was improved and NZNO recommended their members accept it.
- "Issues faced and reported by our members have arisen from a decade of severe underfunding of our public hospitals which have failed to keep pace with growing community need, the ageing population and workforce, and increased costs," said NZNO Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne.
- Lack of trust in DHBs is a big issue for nurses.
- The NZNO needed a simple majority to reject the latest pay offer to proceed with the strike.
- While the organisation never release voting statistics, it says this week's vote was closer than last time.
- Nurses have not gone on strike for 30 years.
What was the offer the nurses rejected?
- Members of the Nurses Organisation rejected the fourth offer by DHBs on Monday.
- The offer redistributed available funding, lifting the minimum increase from 9 percent to 12.5 percent but over a longer period, over 25 months, or until August 2020.
- DHBs also said they would begin recruiting immediately an extra 500 or so full-time staff.
- The offer also provided a date - 31 December 2019 - for the implementation of pay equity, in a package estimated to be worth $520 million.
This article was originally published by RNZ.
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