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Primary Health Care Worker Strike To Proceed

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation confirms that the Primary Health Care (PHC) worker strike scheduled for eight hours on 3 September will go ahead after mediation with employers, held today, failed to reach a resolution.

The strike will include around 3200 Primary Health Care (PHC) nurses and receptionist/administration staff across more than 500 general practices and accident/medical centres nationwide who want pay parity with their colleagues working in DHBs.

NZNO Industrial Advisor for the PHC Sector Chris Wilson said this situation was simply not good enough considering negotiations have been going on for nearly a year.

"We have been informed there have been discussions occurring in recent weeks about pay parity at a Government level, but nothing tangible has yet been forthcoming, and we will now proceed with industrial action as planned."

She said additional Government funding would need to be provided quickly to PHC employers if a resolution is to be reached.

"The Government has known about the urgency of pay parity in PHC for at least a year, and to not pull out all stops to address the serious PHC recruitment and retention issues is beyond belief.

"Our members and their communities need to see this challenge averted so a quality, safe and accessible primary health care service can continue."

Ms Wilson said the priority now should be the parties meeting again as soon as possible after the strike and that they be enabled by the Government to come to a resolution.

"Pay parity has been costed at $15m and, in the context of the whole health sector, there is no reason this has to wait. The acknowledged value of our members’ work should mean we do not need to consider taking industrial action to have that recognised."

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