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Family Planning members vote for historic 24 hour strike

New Zealand Nurses Organisation Media Release

Around 100 NZNO nurses, medical receptionists/administrators and health promoters have voted to issue a 24 hour strike notice over a breakdown in their collective agreement negotiation with Family Planning Association (FPA). The strike will take place from 7.00am 13 December to 7.00am 14 December 2018.

The parties have been in negotiations since March 2018 and attended mediation in August.

Family Planning provide a range of clinical services and education in 33 clinics, 32 school linked clinics and outreach centres across New Zealand.

NZNO Lead Advocate Chris Wilson says that FPA staff are simply asking for their work to be fully respected and be equitably recognised for their value and expertise. "Family Planning is a public health organisation providing incredibly valuable work for our community," she said. "But it is simply unsustainable and unfair for our members to be paid less than the going rate for their work."

Members rejected the latest offer made because it failed to fully address longstanding wage inequity.

FPA nurses are paid at least 6% less than a comparable role within the DHB. They have to attain additional competencies to deliver the services Family Planning provide, up to and including nurse prescribing. FPA Nurse Practitioners could gain between 13 - 27% with a career move to the DHB.

FPA wages for medical receptionist and administration roles are also problematic, with half of their rates being below the living wage.

Family Planning have had at least a decade of inadequate funding. FPA have stated that this underfunding is the cause of their inability to invest more into wages.

NZNO acknowledge that FPA have endeavoured to provide higher increases than in previous years, however staff at FPA should not have to make up the funding shortfall by working for lower wages. It is time that the funding provided to FPA matched the value it gives to the wellbeing of our community.

The parties will be directed to attend mediation before the strike occurs and Chris Wilson remains hopeful that funding can be found to settle the dispute.

"Our members don’t want to strike and this has never occurred previously. They are passionate about the fantastic service they provide and want to remain and also be able to attract staff to the service. They need wage rates that recognize the true value of their work in comparison to their peers and further a living wage for all staff.

However, when community health appears to be valued at a lower rate than hospital care they know the community is relying on them to improve it."

ENDS


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