The revised offer, on which NZNO members will begin online voting tomorrow, also includes an immediate start to pay equity talks and an agreement to implement the pay equity settlement from the end of next year.

The strike planned for this Thursday was called off on Friday after facilitation led to this offer – the fourth since talks began more than a year ago with the 20 DHBs – that the NZNO was prepared to recommend to its members. A strike notice is still live for July 12 and the results of the online voting, which closes on Monday July 9, will decide whether the 24-hour stoppage by up to 30,000 NZNO DHB members will go ahead. NZNO represents the vast majority of the DHBs nursing and healthcare assistant workforce and also represents midwives.

NZNO industrial services manager Cee Payne said it was recommending the offer as it met the ‘number 1 issue’ that members showed they felt most deeply about in its pre-facilitation member survey, which was a more equitable outcome for all occupational groups covered by the multi-employer collective agreement (MECA).

Cee Payne talks about why the new offer will help get nursing and midwifery back on its feet.

The previous offer was seen as unfairly targeting the majority of  DHB NZNO members who are covered by the registered nurse (RN) basic pay scale at the expense of senior nurses, registered midwives (RM), nurse practitioners (NPs), community RNs, enrolled nurses and health care assistants (HCAs) on the other DHB pay scales.

That offer would have seen the 15,000 nurses at the top of the five step RN/RM scale getting the equivalent of a 15.9 per cent increase over three years – by adding two additional scale steps – compared with9-10 per cent for members on the other pay scales.

The revised new offer adds either additional steps to members’ pay scales or boosts the pay of nurses on the top grade – and delays the introduction of the new sixth and seventh step for nurses on the RN base pay scale.

The result is that RNs and midwives on the top of the RN/RM base pay scale are being offered between 12.5 per cent to a maximum of 15.9 per cent over the MECA’s three-year life; enrolled nurses and and HCAs at the top of the basic scale are being offered the equivalent of 12.5 per cent; senior nurses/NPs would  get the equivalent of 13.6 per cent for those on the top step of each grade; and community RNs/ midwives would get 12.6 per cent for those on the top step of each grade.

For RNs, ENs, midwives and HCAs who are not at the top of the current three-five-step basic scales they would get the standard three x 3 per cent pay increases (equivalent to around 9.6 per cent over the MECA’s term) plus the $2000 lump sum pro-rata payment (equivalent to 3 per cent of the top of the current RN base pay scale) that all members would receive.

Cee Payne said the primary reason for recommending the offer was that it addressed historical undervaluing of nurses and midwives. She said it was pleased to have achieved the commitment to pay equity implementation in the life of the MECA, which was due to expire at the end of July 2020. The last MECA expired on July 31 last year.

The revised offer retains the $38 million for immediate boosting of nursing numbers and the commitments to implementing the safe-staffing CCDM care capacity demand management tools.

DHB spokesperson Helen Mason said she was pleased NZNO was putting the revised offer to members with the offer meaning more people getting pay rises, increased commitment to addressing workforce issues and a firm undertaking to implement the pay equity talks.

She said that meanwhile the DHBs are continuing to plan for the second strike schedules from 7am on July 12.

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