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Striking Primary Health Care Workers Just Want Due Respect

Primary Health Care (PHC) nurses and administration/reception staff say all they are asking for is their due respect and to receive equal pay with their DHB colleagues for work of equal value.

Around 3200 PHC members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation are on strike across the country from 8am today until 8am Tuesday morning. Rallies will also be held in many towns and cities from 12-1pm today.

NZNO Industrial Advisor Chris Wilson says members cannot understand why no one among the funders and the Government seems to care that PHC nurses continue to be paid up to 10.6 percent less than their colleagues working in DHB hospitals, even though their work has been crucial to the COVID-19 response.

"Our PHC workers are feeling really angry and like they’ve just been fobbed off over and over again, when what they are asking for is only just and fair. It’s completely unfathomable to them that they have to go on strike before they can receive the acknowledgement and respect fair wages would achieve."

Negotiations with employers have been going on for a year, with employers saying they want to pay more but cannot because the Government-controlled funding model is broken.

"We’ve been told repeatedly by various Ministers of Health that this isn’t the Government’s problem but it clearly is," Ms Wilson said.

"They control the funding, and they will face the crisis when PHC nurses and support workers (who staff GP practices and accidents/emergency centres) leave the sector for better pay. We know this will happen, and employers say they are already facing serious staff recruitment and retention issues."

Ms Wilson said notice has already been served to employers of another one-day strike on 23 November.

"Hopefully common sense and decency will prevail in this the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife so that further strike action can be avoided. This shouldn’t have to happen, but our members are resolute and will not back down until real progress is made towards pay parity with their DHB colleagues."

-Ends-

Today's strike rallies

New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) Primary Health Care Nurses and staff members will be holding rallies in support of their 24 hour strike. Members and supporters will be holding signs with key messages on them and handing out leaflets detailing their dispute.

When: 9 September 2020, 12pm-1pm

Where:

Whangārei - Canopy Bridge, Town Basin 12pm-1pm

Auckland - Victoria Park (Halsey Street end) 12pm-1pm

Hamilton - Cnr of Tristram and Mill Streets 12pm-1pm

Tauranga - Gate Pa Shopping Centre, corner of Cameron Rd and 23rd Ave 12pm-1pm

Feilding - Feilding Clock Tower 12pm-1pm

Hawera - Corner of High Street and Waihi Road 12-1pm.

Wellington and surrounding areas - Midland Park, cnr Lambton Quay and Waring Taylor Street and march to the Ministry of Health 133 Molesworth Street 12pm-1pm

Blenheim - Seymour Park 12pm-1pm

Nelson - Tahuna Beach/Rocks Road 12pm-1pm

Motueka - Moteuka Museum 12pm-1pm

Christchurch - Cnr of Bealey Avenue and Madras Street 12pm-1pm

Dunedin - Queens Gardens 12pm-1pm

Invercargill - Wachner Place 12pm-1pm

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