New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 13 October 2022
Nurses working across the Primary Health Care sector have overwhelmingly voted to strike for four hours (10am-2pm) on 27 October in three separate ballots. The strikes are the result of employers’ inability to deliver Pay Parity with nurses employed by Health NZ Te Whatu Ora, due to a lack of Government funding – despite more than a year of bargaining.
The strike will include around 4300 NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) members who work in medical centres and after hours emergency clinics (covered by the PHC MECA) as well as those working for Plunket and Health Care New Zealand – both of which have their own collective agreements.
Each of the three groups held their own strike ballot but chose to strike at the same time as a display of solidarity and because they face the same issues. Each group has rejected an employer offer of 3 percent or less, with further talks having stalled because employers say their funding from Government is too low to offer any more.
Christchurch Primary Health Care nurse and NZNO delegate Denise Moore said all nurses deserve to be paid the same as nurses working for Health NZ Te Whatu Ora.
“It is ridiculous that we are paid 10-20 percent less than our colleagues working in public hospitals. We have the same qualifications, skills and experience and that means we have the same intrinsic value.
“It’s a flagrant injustice that is causing nurses to leave Primary Heath Care in droves for better paid hospital jobs or better wages overseas. This is having a dreadful impact on the availability of health services in communities.”
Ms Moore said that if the Government wants to retain Primary Health Care nurses it has to move beyond just talking about Pay Parity, and properly fund Primary Health Care providers so it can actually be achieved.
“Nurses in every sector in New Zealand have had enough and we are no different. Our goodwill is just about gone and our workforce will continue to dwindle, despite the Government’s view that things will somehow magically improve when summer comes. Take it from me; things will not improve until the Government fronts up.”
She said further strike action could not be ruled out if Pay Parity was not achieved soon.
“This is the end of the line for many of us, and we’re serious.”
Nursing staff from the three groups will hold rallies across the country during the four-hour strike on 27 October.
Primary Health Care Nurses (around 3500 NZNO members covered by the PHC MECA) have rejected an offer of 2.78 percent, with 92 percent voting to strike.
NZNO members employed by Plunket (around 700) have rejected an offer of around 3 percent, with 89 percent voting to strike.
NZNO members employed by Health Care NZ have rejected an offer of around 3 percent, with 96 percent voting to strike.
Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.