NZNO MECA Bargaining
District Health Boards are disappointed that nurses and midwives have dismissed offers of pay rises between 1 and 11% (over the 27-month term of the agreement) plus a lump sum payment of $900 without members having voted on the offer.
DHB spokesperson Dale Oliff says nurses and midwives are essential to the COVID-19 health response keeping New Zealanders safe and helping the country focus on economic recovery and the offer did a lot to advance not just pay rates, but many other matters including health and wellbeing, and supporting the nursing and midwifery workforce.
“Dismissing the offer as an average increase of 1.38% is a huge over-simplification of a complex offer covering six different work groups including healthcare assistants, enrolled nurses, registered and senior nurses and midwives – not to mention the progress over 21 days of negotiations.
“It’s the second offer by DHBs and is deliberately weighted towards those at the lower end of the pay scale with increases of up to 11% to close the growing pay gap with those at the top, as well as introducing incentives for training and development.
“For registered nurses and midwives the offer increases pay by between 1.24 and 4.4 %, but you can’t ignore the last pay round which gave those at the top of their scale pay rises up to 16% - increasing full-time pay for most registered and senior nurses and midwives by more than $10,000 a year or $200 a week.
“For senior nurses and midwives there is an element of restraint that applies to all higher paid public servants, but the offer is reasonable in the context of other public and health sector settlements.
“I would also urge the NZNO and its members to remember we have an agreed process on the wider question of valuing the work of nurses and midwives and addressing their pay equity claims. That should be completed later this year and comes with a commitment to backdate any increase to 31 December 2019.
“The proper place to discuss these matters is around the negotiation table, not through the media and DHBs welcome the involvement of a mediator to help work through the issues raised by the union – our offer is fair and reasonable and we’re happy to have an independent view.
Ms Oliff says there are always opportunities for improvements in areas that are important to nurses and midwives, and the DHBs have agreed to or responded to 35 of the union’s 63 claims. The offer:
- includes a wellbeing package addressing claims important to this workforce
- protects the significant gains of the last settlement
- reaffirms the commitment to safe staffing and addressing historic pay equity issues.
“As part of the wider public service, nurses’ jobs are secure, all increases agreed in the past have been honoured and the pay equity settlement is expected later this year – we’re asking that’s taken into consideration in this pay round,” says Ms Oliff.