Following mediation last week the district health boards are reviewing whether an increased pay offer can be made, reports the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.

The NZNO and negotiating team for the 20 District Health Boards entered mediation on January 31 after NZNO’s DHB nurses, midwives and health care assistants voted to reject the initial pay offer made in November.

The NZNO negotiating team said in an update that it presented the findings of its online member survey to last week’s mediation, including that members wanted an increased pay offer, safe staffing, a shorter term for the agreement (the original offer was for a 33 month term), and a firmer timeframe for pay equity.

“We were clear that any revised offer will require additional funding as trading off improvements from the previous offer would not be acceptable,” said the update to the about 27,000 members that will be covered by the new DHB/NZNO MECA (multi-employer collective agreement).

The original pay offer – a two per cent increase, backdated to November 6, for the majority of nurses and midwives covered by the MECA and further two per cent pay rise in August 2018 and August 2019 – was widely viewed by nurses as too little too late. Members were also divided on how quickly the initial offer’s agreement to start negotiating a pay equity settlement would deliver results for nurses.

The NZNO negotiators said the DHBs were now “going to look at their ability to reconstruct an offer that addresses NZNO concerns”.  The DHBs were due to report back to NZNO by February 26 and members were to be updated on the outcome prior to a series of member meetings running from March 6 to March 23.

“Should DHBs agree to an improved offer the update will include the detail the offer for members to vote on at the meetings,” said the update.

Prior to mediation the union indicated that it would not rule out using the March meetings to vote on industrial action, if a deal couldn’t be reached that it believed members would be ready to accept.

Late last month Health Minister David Clark told Nursing Review that he understood nurses’ and other health workers hopes for better salaries under the new Government but the was reality was that “not everyone’s expectations will be met”.


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