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Independent Panel makes recommendations on MECA agreement

Media Release on behalf of the Independent Panel’s secretariat

Independent Panel makes recommendations on MECA agreement

The Independent Panel, which was set up to help reach a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) between the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation and the 20 District Health Boards, has made a series of recommendations to address issues impacting settlement.

The Independent Panel process was established on 16 April 2018 to help the parties reach an agreement to the current employment negotiations and a pathway to address the pay equity and workload concerns of nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.

The panel heard submissions, in the past six weeks, from the parties, considered the issues presented and has now recommended:

• The Minister of Health sets a clear expectation that DHBs must have sufficient nursing resources to ensure patient and nurse safety, by sending a letter of expectation to each DHB, to be sent as soon as possible after ratification

• The DHBs receive funding equal to 2% of the total national cost of the DHB employed nursing and midwifery workforce, immediately on ratification of the agreement to ensure DHBs have the nursing workforce capacity to deliver the required patient services. The increase in funding to be allocated to each DHB in accordance with the Population Based Funding Formula

• A lump sum payment of $2,000 to be paid on ratification to each nurse and midwife covered by the MECA. This payment is recognition of the recent workload difficulties experienced by nurses and midwives. This sum represents the equivalent of 3% of the RN5 Rate ($66.755) and the equivalent to 2.93% of the average rate of pay of those covered by the NZNO document increase

• A 3% increase on all MECA wage rates from 1 June 2018. The date of 1 June is recognition of the SSC policy against back pay

• A 3% increase on all MECA wage rates from 1 August 2018 in recognition of the cost of living

• A 3% increase on all MECA wage rates from 1 August 2019 in recognition of cost of living

• The parties enter negotiations during the term of the Agreement to add two new steps in the Nurses Salary Scale

• Pay Equity negotiations be conducted during the term of the Agreement with a view to concluding the negotiations during the term.

The parties appear to have reached agreement on the salary increase for Senior Nurses so the panel makes no specific recommendation.

The panel’s Chair Margaret Wilson is confident these recommendations, if agreed to and ratified, will enable the parties to address the underlying factors which have led to the current situation.”

“The panel recognises just how valuable nurses are to the health workforce and it is important for DHBs to explore ways they can strengthen the leadership and influence of nursing within their organisations for the good of patients and staff”

“I believe these recommendations balance the interests of both parties and provide a platform for a renewed partnership on which the MECA can be agreed,”Ms Wilson said.

The full report is attached Panel_report.pdf

ENDS

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