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Nurses Back Midwives

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) stands in solidarity with Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service (MERAS) members’ strike action.

Hospital midwives with the MERAS union will begin a series of rolling strikes today starting in Northland, Southern and the three Auckland DHBS, with the possibility of a 12 hour strike on 19 August - the same day on which NZNO’s DHB members plan to strike for eight hours.

NZNO Acting Chief Executive Mairi Lucas said MERAS midwives face similar issues to NZNO members who work in DHB hospitals and facilities.

"We also have many members who work in midwifery, and we recognise they share similar struggles for safe working conditions and fair pay, and they - in fact all those belonging to NZNO - stand shoulder-to-shoulder in mutual support.

"It’s the same old story where a highly skilled and trained workforce struggles to have the value of their work recognised because they are mostly women."

She said that, as with NZNO members, strike action is never taken lightly.

"Like nursing, midwifery is a caring profession but, also like nurses, midwives are professionals who deserve to be valued and safe in a workplace where their own wellbeing is cared for."

Ms Lucas urged the district health boards to come to each negotiation with a mind to settle in a way that will help guarantee the future of both professions.

"Fair pay is essential to both workforces retaining staff and recruiting for the future. But both professions are also stressed, over-worked and under-resourced. The future health of all New Zealanders remains under threat as long as these issues are unaddressed."

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