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Underpaid Oamaru Nurses Strike for Parity

20 October 2003

Underpaid Oamaru Nurses Strike for Parity

Nurses and other health workers at Oamaru Hospital began rolling strike action today to match pay rates elsewhere in the South Island said New Zealand Nurses Organisation CEO Geoff Annals this morning.

The two-hour stoppage from 9am - 11am, was strongly supported by the Oamaru community and a three-hour stoppage is planned for Thursday, with further strikes next week if the dispute is not resolved.

"Our members at Oamaru are paid significantly less than their counterparts ¾ hour up the road in Timaru and elsewhere in the South Island," said Geoff Annals.

Geoff Annals said that although the hospital was administered by the community it was funded through the Otago District Health Board.

"This is fairness issue and a funding issue," said Geoff Annals.

"It is simply not fair for Oamaru nurses and other health workers to lag behind their neighbours while others employed directly by the Otago DHB are paid more."

Geoff Annals said NZNO was available at any time to get back to the negotiations table or return to mediation to resolve the dispute.

"In a small community such as Oamaru, it takes a lot for nurses and other health workers to walk off the job," he said.

"The fact that strike action is planned for a further four days demonstrates how strongly our members feel."


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