New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 29 November 2021
Nurses and other health workers who are NZNO members will be holding demonstrations outside the corporate offices of Waikato, Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards (DHBs) on Tuesday 30 November to protest their failure to meet pay deadlines agreed to under the recently ratified NZNO/DHB MECA (multi-employer collective agreement).
NZNO Industrial advisor David Wait says the 20 DHBs collectively said they would pay the back-dated base-rate increases and lump sum payment within six weeks of the agreed MECA. That period passed on 28 November and, while no DHB has met this deadline, 17 DHBs have at least said all payments will be made before Christmas.
“It’s really disappointing that Canterbury and West Coast DHBs have said only some of the payments will be made before Christmas with adjustments to base-rates and associated back pay not being given until mid-February.
“Even worse, Waikato DHB has not only failed to meet the agreed timeframe; It has also failed even to respond to our request for payment dates and confirmation that payments will be made before Christmas.
“The indifferent approach shown by the three DHBs is a real affront and underscores members’ belief that they simply cannot trust their employers. Once again, the clear message from these DHBs is that their word has no value and their hard-working employees do not matter.
“Frankly it’s an absolute disgrace that they cannot even give our members the dignity of a reply over such an important matter.”
Wait said members understood that Waikato DHB had payroll issues arising from the recent hacking incident that led to them over-paying some employees.
“We understand that, but what we find so irksome is that plenty of effort has been put into recovering that money from our members by the DHB, but hardly any has gone into paying their promised increases by the agreed timeframe.
“Members are rightfully angry at this disrespect shown to them and are marching in Hamilton, Christchurch and Greymouth to demand payments are made before Christmas.
“That they are forced to do this as the holiday period approaches and on top everything else they have endured this year is just appalling. No doubt this will make the next round of MECA negotiations, scheduled for late 2022, much harder, and that is a real shame.”
Note, these protests in Canterbury, West Coast and Waikato are not strike action and members will still be showing up for work if they are rostered on at the time. Details of the protests are included below.
Waikato: Protesters will meet on the corner of Selwyn and Pembroke Streets, Hamilton and picket the area from 11.45am until approximately 2pm.
Christchurch: Protesters will meet at the hospital outpatients building (2 Oxford Terrace) at 11.45am and march to the corporate building for arrival at 12 Noon.
Greymouth: Protesters will meet at the café (Te Nīkau, Grey Hospital & Health Centre, Greymouth) at 12pm to march around the corporate office before proceeding to the grass area on the main road.
Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.