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4000 Lower NI Nurses Prepare Black Friday Strikes

January 29, 2004

4000 Lower North Island Nurses
Prepare For Black Friday Strike

Four thousand nurses, midwives and health assistants will walk out of seven lower North Island hospitals on February 13th.

New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation advocate, Lyn Olsthoorn said NZNO has this afternoon filed a notice of a four hour strike on February 13th, between 9am – 1pm.

The strike action will affect seven DHBs - Taranaki Health, Hutt Valley DHB, Whanganui DHB, Wairarapa DHB, MidCentral DHB, Hawkes Bay and Capital and Coast DHB.

Lyn Olsthoorn said NZNO was seeking to close the pay gap between their current pay rates and their colleagues across the country.

She said the strike action would make February 13th a black Friday for NZNO members.

“We view the decision to take strike action very seriously and have made every attempt to find a solution to prevent that disruption,” she said.

“The employers’ offer simply did not match pay rates elsewhere and it is not acceptable to pay nurses in these seven DHBs less than their colleagues for the same job.”

NZNO negotiators have told the employers they are willing to return to negotiations at any stage prior to the strike. The employers have taken up the offer and asked to meet next Wednesday. (February 4).

Lyn Olsthoorn said patient safety would not be jeopardised in the strike action. “NZNO has always ensured adequate staff is available for emergencies,” she said.

Lyn Olsthoorn said it was ironic that nurses were forced to take strike action when the latest UMR poll shows nurses again easily topping the occupational respect ratings.

“The time for the highest level of public respect to translate into fair pay is long overdue," she said.

ENDS

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