The public knowing the district health boards’ latest pay offer before it was shared with nurses on the ward has left many of its members “distressed and disappointed”, says the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.

The 20 district health boards’ revised offer was unexpectedly released to media yesterday during a DHB press conference before the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation had shared it with its 27,000 nurses, midwives and health care assistant DHB members.

The DHB’s third offer echoes the panel’s pay rise recommendations in offering the equivalent of a 3 per cent a year increase in base pay over three years plus a pro-rata $2000 lump sum – but it boosted the offer by adding two extra pay steps for experienced nurses on top of the current five step basic pay scale.

The DHBs’ push to put its case on the revised offer to the media, public and NZNO members before NZNO – which had told members they would get the offer and analysis sent to them on Thursday – is now causing fallout, says the union.

Cee Payne, NZNO’s industrial services manager said that many nurses had voiced their concern via social media about the DHB’s approach to presenting the third offer.

“At present we are experiencing the fallout of the way the information about the revised offer was released,” said Payne. She said this could jeopardise NZNO’s DHB negotiating team’s ability to discuss the revised offer with DHB members in a “constructive manner”.

The DHBs new pay offer is targeted at the estimated 75 per cent – about 15,000 of the DHBs’ total 20,000 hospital-based registered nurses and midwives – currently at the top of the five step basic pay scale by adding two extra pay steps that will bring the top base pay salary to $77,386 in December 2019.

The DHBs say this could take the mean earnings for an experienced, proficient level, hospital RN working regular weekends, night shifts and some overtime from $81,459 currently, to $93,874 in July 2020. A DHBs spokesperson said the $81,459 salary used for the above scenario was based on the average earnings across the 20 DHBs of all  fulltime hospital nurses and midwives on the top of the five step pay scale.

Payne said it was alarmed that some of the numbers released yesterday – including the hypothetical $93,000 salary –were ‘best case’ scenarios that could only occur many, many months down into the term of the agreement.

“The hypothetical $93,000 came from an example of a nurse working full time, with some overtime and significant weekend and night work. The reality is that the majority of nurses in this bracket are not full time and not working rostered shifts on top of this.”

“We do not think it was helpful or fair to present to the public, via the media, pay scale examples that have the potential to obscure the actual pay increases for our members. Most of our members report these numbers are entirely misleading compared to their rostered hours.”

Payne said NZNO is navigating its way through the revised offer, “with evidence and sound evaluation. “We will be supporting our members to understand the revised offer on this basis. NZNO will present their assessment and the offer to members on Thursday,” Cee Payne said.

Nurses on social media last week called the panel pay recommendations ‘a joke’ and NZNO said the DHBs would have to repackage and strengthen its offer beyond the panel recommendations to meet stretched and frustrated nurses concerns if  planned strikes in July were to be averted.

Helen Mason, the DHBs spokesperson has said she is optimistic that the DHBs’ third offer would be accepted as it was “a significant increase” that went beyond the recommendations of the Independent Panel and the DHB’s previous two year deal offer.  It followed the government allocating an extra around $250m over three years to bring the package up to $520 with a commitment to addressing NZNO’s pay equity application over the extended three year term.

DHBs’ third offer details:

TermFrom August 1 2017 to July 31 2020 (3 year term)
Lump sum payment$2,000 to be paid on ratification (pro-rated for part-time and casuals)
Pay adjustments4 June 2018 – 3% on all scales
6 August 2018 – 3% on all scales
5 August 2019 – 3% on all scales
Removal of salary step SN1 from the senior nurse and midwife salary scale and a further 1% added to the SN2 to SN8 Senior Nurse wage rates from 4 June 2018
Additional stepsRN/M6 - $72,944 introduced 3 December 2018
RN/M7 - $77,386 introduced 2 December 2019
(RN/Ms with over 12 months on RN5 to progress on these dates)
Enrolled Nurses Professional Development Recognition ProgrammeIncrease proficient from $2,500 to $3,000, and accomplished from $4,000 to $4,500 at 4 June 2018
On-call allowanceIncrease from $4.04 to $8.00 (and $6.06 to $10.00 for public holidays) from 4 June 2018
Nursing staffing improvements$750k additional investment in the SSHW Unit to support fast-tracked CCDM Implementation
An immediate 2% investment in additional nursing staff ($38M)
An additional 2 FTE per 600 nursing FTE for CCDM implementation within DHBs ($10M)

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