6 Jun 2013

Nurses fear labour laws will compromise safety

9:06 pm on 6 June 2013

An organisation representing district health boards says nurses are an important part of their services and they have no intention of walking away from multi-employer agreements.

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill, which passed its first reading in Parliament on Wednesday night, would remove the obligation on workers and employers to reach a collective contract.

The Nurses Organisation says its members working for DHBs are covered by one of the largest multi-employer contracts in New Zealand.

It says the law would provide employers with the means to drive wages and conditions down, as would removing the requirement for minimum breaks.

However, District Health Boards Shared Services says the boards have no intention of walking away from the multi-employer contract.

The chairperson of its employment relations strategy group, Graham Dyer, says the contract does not run out until March 2015 and any law changes would not be used to enforce inferior conditions on nurses.