24 May 2018

Nurses panel recommends pay rise to avoid strike

4:51 pm on 24 May 2018

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a working panel has identified the struggles nurses are facing in the workplace and she hopes the pay dispute can soon be settled.

An independent panel working to resolve a pay impasse between nurses and district health boards is recommending an immediate 3 percent payrise and a one-off $2000 payment to avoid strike action.

Nurses protest at Middlemore Hospital.

Nurses protested over pay and conditions outside Middlemore Hospital earlier this month. Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

The panel - which is chaired by the former Labour government minister Margaret Wilson - was launched by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after nurses rejected a 2 percent pay increase in March.

The panel has recommended a 3 percent pay increase for nurses from June, with another 3 percent rise in August this year, and again in August next year, to cover the cost of living.

Ms Ardern said the district health board will now have to look at the suggestions made by the independent panel.

"DHBs are sitting down now giving real consideration to what the panel has said and, of course, nurse safety should be really top-of-mind for all of us.

"Everyone wants to go to work and make sure they are working in a safe environment and certainly what the panel is drawing out that for some nurses that might not be the case," she said.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokeswoman Cee Payne said the recommendations fell short in addressing nurses' pay concerns.

She said DHBs would now review the recommendations, as well as nurses feedback, before making an updated offer next Monday.

Read the full report from the panel here:

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