Wellington Scoop

“Pushed hard by the union:” DHBs make new offer to nurses

News from District Health Boards
District Health Boards have made a revised offer to NZNO nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.

DHB spokesperson Jim Green says he’s pleased negotiations have produced an offer that the NZNO will take to its members with a recommendation to accept.

“We were pushed hard by the union to put together a package that met their members’ demands for action on safe staffing, as well as bringing the new top salary step for registered nurses and midwives into the term of the agreement.

“The key differences in this offer relate to the sequencing and timing of the elements.”

Mr Green says one of the key features of the revised offer is an increased commitment by DHBs to address the staffing and work issues raised.

“The offer contains $38M that DHBs will use to start recruiting additional staff immediately and they’ll work with NZNO locally on the areas where staff are most urgently needed.

“As well as reporting regularly to the Ministry which will monitor progress, DHBs have agreed a process for providing reports to NZNO members.

“DHBs also conceded the argument to bring forward the new RN7 top step so it will be within the new agreement and consistent with the pay scale for Registered Nurses and Midwives. DHBs are discussing the funding arrangements for this change with the Ministry of Health.”

Mr Green says recommendations by the Employment Relations Authority were part of the negotiations, but will not be released until an agreement has been ratified.

“What I can say is that the DHB offer goes further than the either the ERA or the Independent Panel suggested and ensures any agreement will apply from June this year instead of a fortnight after ratification.

“The new offer will now be put to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants through online voting and I very much hope they will consider it favourably,” says Mr Green.

News from NZNO
Yesterday NZNO achieved two significant improvements to the fourth DHB MECA offer and is recommending the revised offer to members today.

Associate Industrial Services Manager Glenda Alexander explains that the offer expands on the consistency members have asked for across the MECA for all steps.

“We are recommending the offer because it retains previously achieved benefits and addresses the ongoing member priorities of greater need for clarity and commitment to safe staffing and also the issue of equity and fairness across the steps,” Glenda Alexander said.

“The new step 7 on the registered nurse and registered midwife scale will now take effect 12 months after the implementation of step 6. It becomes effective on 4 May 2020.

“As earlier negotiated we have a definite date for implementation of pay equity. The effective date for payment of pay equity will be 31 December 2019. We remain confident that these later pay equity negotiations will deliver further pay increases as of that date.

“In addition we have secured clearer monitoring and reporting mechanisms in relation to an immediate additional nursing staff funding allocation and, enforceable mechanisms for progress on Care Capacity and Demand Management (CCDM).

“It is agreed that bi monthly updates about safe staffing and the implementation of CCDM will be provided to ensure transparency for the nursing and midwifery teams. Nurses will be able to monitor CCDM progress and safe staffing levels,” she said,

On-line voting will take place from midday Tuesday through to 5pm Monday 6 August.