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Bringing Tikanga to Industrial Relations

New Zealand Nurses Organisation
Media Release
27 November 2007

Bringing Tikanga to Industrial Relations

A unique event in New Zealand’s industrial relations history gets underway today with the opening of bargaining for a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) between the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and 60 Maori and Iwi primary health care providers.

NZNO lead advocate Joanne Wrigley says the prospect of a MECA with Maori and Iwi providers grew out of the negotiations for the NZNO Primary Health Care MECA settled in May 2007 with some 580 employers across the country. “These negotiations are a real opportunity for us to extend our partnership with Te Runanga o Aotearoa and to recognise the unique practices of the Maori and Iwi Primary Health providers.”

Te Runanga o Aotearoa Kaiwhakahaere Brenda Close says Te Runanga supports Te Rau Kokiri – the name gifted to NZNO for the document – because it acknowledges the need for Maori to have tikanga and matauranga Maori as integral parts of bargaining and aspirations for better working conditions for our whanau.

The NZNO bargaining team will be seeking parity with Public Hospital pay rates for members covered by this agreement, including nurses, midwives, administration employees, community health workers and allied health workers.

According to a survey undertaken by NZNO in June this year, Registered Nurses working for Maori and Iwi Primary Health providers earn on average $22.73/hr compared to a base rate of $26.66/hr for most Public Hospital nurses.

NZNO has agreed to support the employers in their efforts to secure additional funding to address not only the pay gap with other sectors but also the recruitment, retention and training issues that exist within the sector.

“The Ministry of Health Primary Health Care Strategy places emphasis on developing broader primary health care competencies and skills and providing for the diverse needs of the population being served,” says Joanne Wrigley. “It is absolutely vital that the Maori and Iwi primary health care sector is able to retain its health care professionals and increase their numbers if the goals of the strategy are to be achieved.”

“Here is the perfect opportunity for the Government to address the apparent short-fall in funding and to enable the providers to deliver parity for the Maori and Iwi primary health care sector,” says Joanne Wrigley.

ENDS

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