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Minister of Health’s Announcement Disappointing for Midwives

The country’s biggest union for employed midwives, MERAS (Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Services), is pleased for nurses but incredibly disappointed that midwives were not included in the Minister's announcement.

DHB negotiators yesterday told the midwives' union that the DHBs’ position was unchanged and they were too busy to meet for further mediation until the first two weeks of September.

Co-leader of MERAS, Jill Ovens, says she was pleased to hear Minister Little encourage DHBs to meet and do as much as they can to avert industrial action planned for this Thursday.

“I can assure the Minister that DHBs are not doing all they can to progress negotiations for employed midwives. As we said yesterday, the DHB negotiators have told us they have no time in their diaries to meet until at least the first couple of weeks of September, adding that they cannot move from their current position. This is hardly good faith and incredibly frustrating,” says Ms Ovens.

Thursday’s strike will go ahead from 8am to 8pm over every DHB in the country. Midwives will be providing life preserving services, which in a number of cases requires more midwives working than usual to ensure safe staffing.

“That means fewer midwives can strike on a strike day than could on a ‘normal’ day. That’s actually a breach of the midwives’ right to strike which we would have thought would be even better understood by a Labour government than any other. We are flummoxed by this Government's deafness to the well canvassed and clear issues our employed midwives continue to face,” says Jill Ovens.

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