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$300m Government Injection Needed For Health Pay

$300m Government Funding Injection Needed For Health Pay

“Health workers in the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) are calling on the Government to inject extra funds to provide for pay increases for all public sector health workers,” said Nadine Marshall, Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. She was commenting on the NUPE negotiations which begin on Friday for about 700 health workers at the CDHB, the first of a number which follow the recent settlement of the NZNO Nurses Agreement.

“NUPE covers CDHB staff including nurses, other clinical staff such as Social Workers and Occupational Therapists, and support staff such as clerical, maintenance and orderlies. These staff work in teams across Princess Margaret, Hillmorton, Burwood, Christchurch Womens’, and Christchurch Hospitals, and various other sites in Canterbury including Dental Therapists and Assistants working at school Dental Clinics.”

“The Government is putting in $380m extra to pay for the nurses settlement,” said Nadine Marshall. “NUPE estimates that to give a similar pay increase to all public sector health workers would cost about $300m. Fifteen of years of wage suppression in the state sector has contributed to a huge Government surplus ($6b). Now it must be used in part for 30% pay rises for all health workers.”

“The Minister of Health accepted in December that the pay settlement for DHB nurses would cost the government ‘even more money as other health workers call for similar wage hikes.’ Her further comment that ‘the government has not made provision for flow-on pay claims, because it does not yet know how big they will be,’ is irresponsible as the Minister admitted that this would put pressure on District Health Boards, who are effectively left rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.”

“Health workers do not want to be placed in the position where operations for patients have to be cancelled to provide fair pay for employees,” said Nadine Marshall. “The Government must place funds with Boards to settle these agreements quickly.”

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