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Nurses Vote to Accept Fair Pay Settlement

Nurses Vote to Accept Fair Pay Settlement

Nurses and midwives who are members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation have voted to accept their first national public sector agreement since 1991 with a majority of 81.7%. The agreement will cover more than 20,000 nurses, midwives and health care assistants in the country’s 21 District Health Boards.

“After a decade and half of divide and rule industrial relations in the health sector, this agreement will put a fragmented nursing workforce back together and go a long way to addressing the undervaluing of the work our members do,” said NZNO spokesperson Laila Harré today .

At the centre of NZNO’s claims was a demand for fair pay in comparison to similar state sector employees – like teachers and police – and nurses and midwives overseas.

“Our Fair Pay claim has been met and that will mean that over the next 16 months nurses and midwives will catch up to these other groups through a series of pay increases,” said Laila Harré.

“This result could not have been achieved without the hard work of generations of nurses and other activists fighting for pay equity for those doing the traditional work of women. We asked the public to support us and they have. In doing so they have shown their appreciation for the hard work nurses and midwives do.”

Laila Harré said the priority now for NZNO would be to extend the benefits of the DHB agreement to nurses and caregivers employed in primary health care and residential aged care facilities.

“Aged care and primary health care are core parts of our public health system and we will be campaigning hard for the funds to ensure that the nurses and caregivers in who work in those sectors are valued as highly as hospital nurses,” she said.

Key Facts About the Settlement

The pay rates agreed will apply until December 2006 and will be phased in by July 2006. Increases range but for most will be in around 20% between last July and July 2006.

An independently-chaired inquiry will now be established to investigate nurse staffing levels and make recommendations on safe staffing levels and the process for ensuring they are met

NZNO will be represented on a government working party on the extension of the state sector superannuation scheme to DHB employees

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