Public Sector Nurses Bargaining for New MECA
6 November 2006
Public Sector Nurses Initiate Bargaining for New MECA
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) has initiated bargaining to re-negotiate the Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) covering over 20,000 nurses employed by District Health Boards. The current agreement expires on 31 December 2006.
NZNO members have endorsed principle-based claims maintaining pay parity with other state-sector professions, won through the Fair Pay campaign, and seeking to address employment equity issues for their female-dominated workforce.
NZNO Industrial Advisor Glenda Alexander says it is important that the improvements brought about by the current MECA are not eroded in the same way as conditions were eroded through the 1990s. “We must not get into the position where we need another 20% pay-jolt,” she says.
Ms Alexander says that although pay rates are important, there will also be a significant focus on working conditions that must improve if New Zealand is to continue to attract high quality people to nursing and make the profession a viable life-long career.
The government has prioritised gender equity in the workforce through the Pay and Employment Equity Unit. NZNO sees this bargaining round as an opportunity to introduce workplace practice that supports the principles of gender equity.