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NZNO Membership Leaps Following DHB Settlement

31 March 2005

Nurses Organisation Membership Leaps Following DHB Settlement

Membership of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation has dramatically increased since the settlement of the DHB MECA, covering 20,000 nurses, midwives and health assistants said NZNO president Jane O’Malley today.

NZNO gained over 1500 new members in the past two months, and total membership is now 39,000.

“The membership growth is an endorsement of the settlement and the power of membership campaigns,” said Jane O’Malley.

“People can see that being in a union and joining together to collectively bargain is the way to achieve better pay and conditions.”

Jane O’Malley said some of the membership growth was as a result of a bargaining fee agreement endorsed in a national ballot of DHB employees.

One of the outcomes of the DHB settlement was the agreement between NZNO and the DHBs to a ballot to determine whether non members would be required to pay a bargaining fee to receive the benefits of the settlement.

The ballot, of all employees and required under the Employment Relations Act, was in favour of a bargaining fee. Any non-union employee who did not wish to pay the fee has had two weeks to notify their employer and inform them that they do not wish to pay the fee and therefore will not receive the benefits of the settlement. Those employees will then have to negotiate individually with their DHB employer.

Jane O’Malley said for a small amount extra, those employees could join NZNO and receive all the benefits of full membership.

“Obviously many of them are acknowledging the value of union membership by taking up the option to join the majority of their colleagues and become NZNO members,” she said.

“That can only mean NZNO will be an even stronger bargaining position when we return to the next negotiations at the end of next year.”

ENDS

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