2 Jul 2018

Nurses strike still on cards despite revised offer

5:28 pm on 2 July 2018

Next week's strike by thousands of hospital nurses is still on the cards despite the union recommending members accept a revised pay offer.

NZNO industrial services manager Cee Payne.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation industrial services manager Cee Payne is recommending the new pay offer for nurses offered by DHBs. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says the new offer from District Health Boards provides immediate relief for major staffing shortages in hospitals.

The Employment Relations Authority facilitated talks with the New Zealand Nurses Union and District Health Boards (DHBs) last week after months of failed negotiations over pay and working conditions.

Details of the new deal offered by DHBs on Friday, which resulted in the nurses union calling off a strike scheduled for this Thursday, have been released today.

However, a 24-hour nurse strike planned for 12 July still remains hanging in the balance.

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.

Union industrial services manager Cee Payne said one of the key aspects of it was the $38 million in funding proposed to deal with acute staffing shortages.

"Each DHB will receive funding to employ additional staff in hospitals and in the community to relieve staff shortages," Ms Payne said.

Extra staffing measures would allow for more attention to nurses' safety, she said.

"Strengthened wording of and resourcing for the Care Capacity Demand Management programme implementation will mean DHBs can engage staff dedicated to the implementation of the safe staffing programme," Ms Payne said.

There was also recognition for all DHB MECA (Multi Employer Collective Agreement) groups with above general wage increases and a fair distribution among the groups, she said.

"We are pleased to have achieved the commitment to pay equity implementation in the proposed DHB MECA term, with pay equity negotiations expected to result in further pay increases before its expiry."

Voting on whether to accept the offer opens tomorrow and will run until next Tuesday.

DHBs previously offered a package worth $520 million, which included pay increases of between 9 and 15 percent, and a 2 percent increase in staffing numbers.

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