A week of rallying action by nurses got underway this morning at Wellington Railway Station as moves continue on an independent process to solve the pay and safe staffing dispute.

Nurses met this morning at Wellington Railway Station with placards and pamphlets in support of the #HealthNeedsNursing campaign put in place after frustrated DHB nurses last month voted to reject the DHBs’ pay offer.

Ashley Bloomfield, a spokesperson for the 20 district health boards who are currently in a pay talks stalemate with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, stressed that patient services would not be affected by the rallies underway over the next two next weeks including protests outside hospitals.

NZNO president Grant Brooks and NZNO industrial services manager Cee Payne were joining Wellington members at today’s protest which is  followed by action tomorrow at Middlemore Hospital, and a series of rallies in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin on Friday.

Brookes said the rallies were a great way for nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants to demonstrate their dissatisfaction over the lack of investment in pay and safe staffing.

Bloomfield said DHBs were still working with NZNO and Ministry of Health on the Prime Minister’s recommendation on an independent panel to help solve the current pay impasse and a way of addressing nurses’ pay equity and workload issues.  The two parties had not commented since holding an urgent meeting on the proposal on March 27 but Bloomfield said they were working on how to finalise the panel and how it would work.

The nurses’ union has made it clear that industrial action is a last resort – we agree and hope the Independent Panel will help find an agreement and avoid disrupting health services. I think nurses and midwives would expect us to explore all options before they consider strike action.”

RALLY SCHEDULE TO DATE:

Tuesday 10 April
6.30am to 8.00am and again at 2pm to 4pm
Middlemore Hospital, Auckland

Friday 13 April
11.30am to 1pm
Hagley Park North, Christchurch

2pm to 4pm
Wellington Hospital

2pm to 4pm
Dunedin Hospital

Saturday 14 April
9.00am to 11.00am Masterton Market (Queen and Elizabeth Park), Wairarapa

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