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Over 3000 nurses, healthcare workers to stop work across NZ at the end of this month

Thousands of nurses and healthcare workers in New Zealand will stop work for two hours later this month after mediation to settle their multi-employer agreement negotiations failed.

Source: istock.com

The group of more than 3400 primary health care nurses and medical receptionists and administrators will stop work for two hours on Thursday 23 July.

It comes after eight months of negotiations.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) industrial advisor Chris Wilson says it has not happened before in primary health care workplaces.

"It’s not surprising employers have not increased their offer to one that our members could accept because their funding from Government is completely inadequate," Mr Wilson said.

“Employers have been very clear that they also want pay parity with DHBs so they can keep their staff and continue delivery of a quality primary health care service."

Ms Wilson said an experienced nurse covered by the Primary Health Care MECA is currently paid 10.6 per cent less than their DHB colleague with the same qualifications, skills and experience.

"This is completely unjust and undervalues the amazing work these nurses do in providing expert care in the community - demonstrated so clearly in the Covid-19 response."

She said this is not a usual union versus employer dispute.

"Owners, doctors and managers are also disappointed that Government funding for pay parity has not been forthcoming. This is despite approaches to ex-Health Minister David Clark, the Ministry of Health and DHB officials by both NZNO and employer advocates the NZ Medical Association and Green Cross Health."

Ms Wilson said NZNO will be contacting the Chief Nursing Officer, Director General of Health, relevant Ministers and the Prime Minister this week to make the case again for improved Government funding.