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DHBs look for way forward in midwives strike

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2018

District Health Boards are hoping striking midwives will join them in facilitation or return to mediation to find a way through the current impasse in the pay dispute.

Midwives covered by MERAS (Midwifery Employee Representation & Advisory Service) are striking for two hours, twice a day until 5 December looking for more money in their agreement compared to that accepted by other midwives.

DHB spokesperson Jim Green says hospitals have contingency plans in place to ensure women, their babies and families have the care they need, meanwhile they’re working to try and find a settlement.

“Negotiations with MERAS have been ongoing for over a year – we respect the important role of midwives and have made a significant offer.

“The offer they’ve turned down is 9% over the next 18 months plus two pay step increases and a lump sum payment. It is the same increase offered to other midwives, but they’re asking significantly more.

Mr Green says there are many parts to the MERAS proposal which would go well outside the funding DHBs have to settle these negotiations.

DHBs and MERAS have agreed on a process for investigating the Midwives’ pay equity claim and any outcome will be implemented from 31 December 2019. This is a process for midwives led by midwives.

“Work is also underway at a sector level looking at staffing levels – these are the appropriate places to discuss these workforce issues.

“In the meantime we’ve made an excellent offer that that would deliver a significant pay rise and we’d urge MERAS to come back to talks,” says Mr Green.

ends

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