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Nurses To "Bargain Hard" For Health And Safety

New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora who work for Te Whatu Ora say they will continue to bargain hard until their demands to be valued and safe at work are met.

Thousands of NZNO members attended 58 stop work meetings were held across the country last week where they discussed the latest employer offer of a $4000 pay rise this year across all rates and a further 3 percent next year.

Christchurch NZNO delegate Al Dietschin said attendance at the meetings was massive and that members were pretty fired up about the offer they had received.

"That Te Whatu Ora has not even come close to the rate of inflation (as was our claim) is one thing, but even more disappointing for members is that they have not responded at all to our claims around health and safety in the workplace, and that’s something that affects all New Zealanders - ourselves and the mothers, fathers, sister, brothers and loved ones who are our patients."

Across all meetings members voted in favour (approximately 98 percent majority) of returning to the negotiating table to "pursue all of our claims on the basis that the Te Whatu Ora position is unacceptable and does nothing to address the urgent needs of NZNO members."

The endorsed resolution also states that "if the negotiations have not made acceptable progress on the NZNO claims members will decide on necessary actions to achieve an acceptable settlement."

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Dietschin said members were exhausted and burned out from unsafe staffing levels and high patient demand, and that the resolution sends a strong message to Te Whatu Ora that they are not in any mood to accept an offer that does not value them or address their dangerous workplaces.

He said the NZNO negotiation team would begin another two days of bargaining with Te Whatu Ora tomorrow and that the bargaining approach would be in line with the resolution and members views on the unacceptability of the offer.

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