Health Minister welcomes progress on nurses’ pay

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices is a positive move towards settling district health board nurses’ pay claims, Health Minister Andrew Little said.

“It’s encouraging that the discussions between NZNO and DHBs over the nurses’ employment agreement have resulted in a new offer that will go out to nurses, and that the union has lifted strike notices for July 29 and 30,” he said.

Nurses voted to hold strikes in July, August and September in support of their pay claims.

“Now that DHBs no longer have to spend time preparing to deal with the major disruption a strike would cause we can focus instead on resolving the main issue, which is the nurses’ pay-equity claim,” Andrew Little said.

“Separate to pay negotiations, I have been driving officials hard to put together a comprehensive and principled offer on pay equity and we are a month away from tabling something that means we can address the long-standing historical unfairness that nurses have faced.

“Nurses have been under-paid for years, largely because it’s a female-dominated profession.

“Settling the pay-equity claim means that for the first time, their work will be recognised and valued as much as comparable professions.

“Labour has a proud track record on these issues and we have already increased nurses’ pay by more than 10 per cent in the four years we have been in Government.”

The offer that is going out to nurses to settle their employment agreement is within the Government’s employment relations expectations for the public sector.

Andrew Little thanked both sides of the bargaining team for their hard work to make progress, and urged them to continue to work together constructively.