New Zealand Nurses Plan Work Stoppage during Pandemic after Mediation Fails
The thousands of nurses and healthcare workers responsible for providing care in New Zealand intend to stop working after the mediation to resolve their contract disputes were unsuccessful. The quasi-strike is expected to last for two hours and is being done to show solidarity and prove home important healthcare services are in the country.
In addition to the nurses who plan to participate in the work stoppage, medical receptionists and administrators will do the same. More than 3400 people are expected to take part if is scheduled for July 23rd.
The brief work stoppage comes after eight months of mediated negotiations in which neither side could agree on how to move forward.
According to the New Zealand Nurses Organization’s industrial advisor Chris Wilson, "It is not surprising employers have not increased their offer to one that our members could accept because their funding from Government is completely inadequate. Employers have been very clear that they also want to pay parity with DHBs so they can keep their staff and continue delivery of a quality primary health care service."
Wilson points out this is the first time a work stoppage such as this has occurred in New Zealand.
According to Wilson, a nurse covered by the Primary Health Care MECA receives more than 10 percent less than a DHB colleague with the same skills, experience, and qualifications. He called it unjust and said that it undervalues the work the nurses do for the community. He also pointed out that the nurses were working much harder during the COVID-19 pandemic.