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Nurses' strikes called off, union taking pay offer to members

The Nurses union has called off strike notices and will take an improved pay offer to their members. 

Source: 1 NEWS

Health Minister Andrew Little described it as a "positive move towards settling district health board nurses’ pay claims". 

"It’s encouraging that the discussions between NZNO and DHBs over the nurses’ employment agreement have resulted in a new offer that will go out to nurses, and that the union has lifted strike notices for July 29 and 30."

Nurses were fighting for a 17 per cent pay increase, having declined a previous offer of 1.38 per cent.

"Nurses have been under-paid for years, largely because it’s a female-dominated profession," he said. 

"Now that DHBs no longer have to spend time preparing to deal with the major disruption a strike would cause we can focus instead on resolving the main issue, which is the nurses’ pay-equity claim."

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Frustration over pay, staff shortages and lack of progress on a pay equity deal led to industrial action, with nurses seeking a 17 percent pay rise. Source: 1 NEWS

Little said separate to pay negotiations, "I have been driving officials hard to put together a comprehensive and principled offer on pay equity and we are a month away from tabling something that means we can address the long-standing historical unfairness that nurses have faced".

"Settling the pay-equity claim means that for the first time, their work will be recognised and valued as much as comparable professions."

Earlier this week, New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) delegate Diane McCulloch told Breakfast medical professionals have been "trampled over the years" and that "enough is enough".

"Our nurses are so tired, they are so burnt out."

Today, NZNO lead advocate David Wait said he was "glad negotiations had reached this point after talks broke down earlier in the week".

"The DHBs had shown a willingness to move on a number of issues important to our members, but did not have an offer ready by close of business on Wednesday, which was the two-week deadline for issuing the strike notice."

District Health Boards spokesperson Dale Oliff said today their fourth offer to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants was a "package of measures addressing the issues raised by the NZNO and follows a meeting with the mediator in Wellington".

"Nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants are an important part of our workforce, and key to delivering to the needs of our communities, this offer acknowledges the value of their role."