New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 11 April 2022
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) says it will initiate a full legal review of the Pay Equity settlement agreement that was presented to NZNO and PSA members on Friday 8 April, and the process leading up to it.
New NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter said member feedback indicated there was significant dissatisfaction with the back pay aspect of the deal in that the proposed lump sum payment in recognition of past work was not what they were expecting – based on member understanding that they would be individually back paid to 31 December 2019.
“These negotiations took place before my appointment as Chief Executive and I was not party to them.
“However, it appears something is not right, and I have initiated a full legal review as to whether the proposed lump sum (backdating) payment meets the conditions agreed to in our last MECA negotiations, and whether we were legally correct in bringing the proposed settlement to members.”
Paul Goulter said the negotiations had been protracted and difficult, with a number of parties involved, and the NZNO and PSA negotiation teams, which included members saw the proposed settlement as a way of settling negotiations and getting much improved base pay rates to members.
“The employers said individual backpay was difficult for their payroll systems and that they would have to phase increases in over at least two years, and members have already become frustrated by ongoing delays.”
He said the new pay rates were considerable across the DHB nursing workforce and seem to have been, by and large, welcomed by members.
“This is a new and historic recognition that nursing has been undervalued as a workforce because it has mainly been done by women.
“That has been addressed and corrected in the proposed settlement, and we will now go hard to see those base DHB rates are extended to all sectors of nursing, including primary health care (e.g. medical centres), aged care, and particularly Māori and iwi providers.”
He said he expected to report the outcome of the legal review back to members as soon as possible, and preferably before the Easter break.
“Members will need this information before voting on the settlement and deciding next steps moving forward.”
Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.