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Suffrage Day Strike For S.I. Nurses

September 4, 2003

Suffrage Day Strike For S.I. Nurses

3,000 nurses, midwives and health assistants employed in DHBs across the South Island have voted to take two hours strike action on 19 September in support of their claim for pay parity with their North Island counterparts.

The South Island MECA covers Southland, Otago, South Canterbury, Nelson/Marlborough and the West Coast DHBs.

New Zealand Organisation advocate Glenda Alexander said stopwork meetings had overwhelmingly rejected their employer's pay offfer.

"Our members are very clear that they do not accept an offer which leaves South Island base rate salaries trailing behind North Island nurses," said Glenda Alexander.

Glenda Alexander said nurses realised that DHBs have difficulty meeting pay claims because of funding restrictions, but that did not justify S.I. nurses lagging behind the rest of the country.

"The effect of accepting this pay offer, on experienced South Island nurses at the top of their pay range, would be that they would still be behind the rates currently paid to upper North Island nurses at the end of next year, 2004," she said.

Glenda Alexander said the strike action was planned for September 19 - Suffrage Day, when nurses across the country will go to the public to highlight nurses' low pay.

On Suffrage day NZNO will launch a public campaign, calling on government to fund a significant pay increase for all New Zealand nurses in next year's budget.

"If government is serious about delivering pay equity in New Zealand, it's time the DHBs were supported to pay nurses fairly," said Glenda Alexander.

ENDS

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