Nurses' union votes in favour of further strikes

Source: 1News

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says its members have voted in favour of three more strikes as a pay dispute continues with DHBs.

1 NEWS digital reporter Rebecca Moore spoke those walking off the job to fight for the cause.

According to the NZNO, the strikes will take place on July 29/30 for 24 hours, August 19 for 8 hours and September 9/10 for 24 hours. 

The strike ballot for its 30,000 members closed at 12pm today.

NZNO lead advocate David Wait said talks would continue with DHBs this week.

"This is a history-making set of actions that could take place over the next few months, but we will be continuing discussions with the DHBs this week and we remain committed to securing a deal that is acceptable to our members."

He says discussions with DHBs have been promising.

"Progress has been made in our discussions and that has given us some hope a resolution can be found around pay and safe staffing."
Further discussions with the DHBs are set for later this week, and mediation is scheduled for next week on 14-15 July.

"Nursing is a caring profession and it’s heart-breaking nurses feel so undervalued that they would choose ongoing strike action.

"To avoid this, we need the Government and the DHBs to come up with an offer right now that truly recognises the contribution nurses make and that ensures the future of nursing. This is about the wellbeing and safety of everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand."

DHBs spokesperson Dale Oliff says DHBs spent two days with the NZNO and an independent mediator last week.

She says they believe a deal can be reached before the strikes.

“We’re continuing to work on a range of options and will be working with the union again this week to progress those discussions before the DHB and NZNO bargaining teams get back together with the mediator next week.

“I’m pleased to see the NZNO remains optimistic about the joint process, and we also believe focusing on solutions will help us find a settlement."

"DHBs recognise the essential role of nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in caring for New Zealanders and we respect the NZNO members’ right to strike – that’s not in question – but our focus is on finding a way to address their concerns as well as meeting the needs of patients and hospitals."

Nurses last took strike action on June 9.