New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 7 August 2023
In a ballot closing at noon today, members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) voted to accept the latest collective agreement proposed settlement from Te Whatu Ora.
As a result a 24-hour strike by NZNO’s roughly 35,000 Te Whatu Ora members planned to start 7am on Wednesday 9 August will not go ahead.
NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter said there was a high level of member participation in the ballot, but that the result, while still clear, was reasonably close.
“While a majority of members accepted the offer, the closeness of the vote shows there remains a serious level of concern and discontent amongst members.
“Many members see the offer as not helping address the shortage of nurses that is severely impacting on the quality of care they can provide for their unwell patients. It is pretty light on important issues such as health and safety at work and minimum staff to patient ratios.
“It doesn’t provide a wage rise that meets the cost of living either.”
Paul Goulter said it was clear that members strongly believe a lot still needed to change.
“Bargaining for the next collective agreement will start early next year and we will continue making health and safety, safe staffing, nurse-to-patient ratios and cost of living increases our focus. These issues remain vitally important to our members, and we will come out fighting on them.”
He said the ratification ballot on the proposed collective agreement settlement should not be confused with the Pay Equity settlement which was accepted by members last week.
“Pay Equity is a one-time adjustment to wage levels meant to address historic sex-based discrimination against people who work in a female-dominated profession. Collective agreements are re-negotiated every few years and are focused on ongoing pay and working conditions.”
Paul Goulter said the public can show their support for nurses by signing NZNO’s ‘We need nurses’ petition and participating in NZNO’s #thenurseweneed campaign activities as they occur.
Media enquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.