Thursday, June 17, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalNZNO DHB Members Vote To Strike!

NZNO DHB Members Vote To Strike!


The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) will be
issuing strike notices to the country’s district health
boards (DHBs) after its 30,000 members who work in DHBs
voted overwhelmingly in favour of an eight-hour strike on 9
June.

Lead Advocate and NZNO Industrial Advisor David
Wait said voter turnout was very high and that he was
extremely pleased by the unity shown by members
participating in the ballot which closed yesterday at
Noon.

“Members are angry and frustrated at the first
DHB offer received last month. That would have given most
members little more than 1.38 percent, just under the rate
of inflation. This is despite the incredible sacrifices they
made in 2020 to keep the country safe from
COVID-19.”

However, he said members were absolutely
furious at the Government’s 5 May wage restraint
announcement that would effectively freeze their wages for
three years as most have already progressed to the last step
of their pay scale.

“That anger has been clearly
expressed in the strike ballot result, but this is about
much more than just money.

“Nurses, midwives, health
care assistants and kaimahi hauora have been working under
horrific and unsafe staffing conditions for a long time,
made much worse by the pandemic, and they are genuinely
worried about the future of the nursing
profession.

“They do not strike on a whim and care
deeply for their patients, but the time has come for a clear
statement to be made. If nurses are not valued and
appreciated, they will leave nursing or move overseas, and
few young people will be joining the profession to replace
them.

“This will turn what is already a serious
staffing crisis into a disaster for the health system and
the levels of care available for ourselves and our loved
ones.”

Mr Wait said members working in Managed
Isolation and Quarantine will not participate in the strike.
Those working as part of the vaccination rollout will
strike, but the DHBs have been given ample notice to make
alternative arrangements for the eight-hour period. NZNO
will also respond in good faith to DHB requests for members
to assist by providing life preserving services in the
interests of patient safety.

“Striking is always a
last resort and we do have mediation with the DHBs scheduled
for 18-19 May during which we will actively search for
solutions that could avert strike action.”

But he said
the best alternative would be for the DHBs and Government to
be realistic and come up with an acceptable offer that would
enhance the profession and recognise the contribution nurses
have made before and since the pandemic.

The
nationwide strike will take place on 9 June from 11am-7pm
but Mr Wait said member determination should not be
underestimated and that further strike action was
possible.

© Scoop Media

 



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