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Historic Parity Step For Primary Health Nurses

25 August 2005

Historic Step Towards Pay Parity For Primary Health Nurses

Nurses and other primary healthcare workers across the country have overwhelmingly voted yes to negotiating together for a multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) to win pay parity with public hospitals.

The results of a nationwide ballot of primary health New Zealand Nurses Organisation members were released to members yesterday and NZNO has initiated bargaining with a record 686 employers to create the biggest MECA in New Zealand.

"This is a historic moment for nurses and other health workers in doctors' surgeries, accident and emergency centres and iwi and Maori health providers," said NZNO spokeswoman Cee Payne-Harker.

"The success of this MECA will make a significant difference to the Government's ability to deliver its primary healthcare strategy and at last primary health nurses are striding towards the fair pay rates they deserve," she said.

"NZNO is calling on the Government to provide up to $40 million funding required to close the pay gap and prevent unnecessary increases in patient fees to cover the wages."

"Since the Fair Pay settlement in public hospitals earlier this year, the pay gap between nurses in public hospitals and those doing a job of equal value to the community in primary health has widened, putting huge pressure on recruitment and retention of nurses in primary health," said Cee Payne-Harker.

Cee Payne-Harker said pay parity for nurses in primary health was the only way to ensure that there was an adequate nursing workforce to deliver healthcare services addressing health issues at the earliest stage to reduce health inequalities and health costs of delayed treatment.


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