If Nurses are tired now, imagine how exhausted they’d be if Jacinda had failed keeping Covid out

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DHBs reduce services as nurses strike today over pay and conditions

Nearly all non-urgent surgery and outpatient clinics have been cancelled today, as thousands of nurses go on strike.

At 11am, nurses will down tools to join marches and pickets across the country as they highlight their anger with pay and working conditions.

Emergency services will still run today and those with urgent medical needs are being told they will still be able to attend hospital or dial 111.

I think the nurses have terribly misread the public support for their industrial action.

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Kicked off after Labour used the public service pay freeze to eclipse their Fair Pay Universal Unionism announcement, the Wellington Union Twitterati rage was an echo chamber that thought it had far more support than it really did.

A 17% pay rise is so far outside most NZers personal expectations that industrial action looks self serving not selfless.

Jacinda can point to a desire to pay the poorest nurses more, can point out the same competitive recruitment pressures have been here for 18months with Australia without gutting staffing levels and that beneficiaries had pay rises instead.

There’s also the undeniable truth that if the Nurses are tired now, imagine how much worse it would haven been if Covid actually had got into NZ?

The Union leadership have picked an odd ditch to fight over against one of the most popular Prime Ministers.

Poor tactics, worse strategy.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Only those completely under the spell of Jacinda would agree with you that nurses are not supported . Having just spent time in Hospital I know first hand how stretched they are . Most know that them or their family will need to go to hospital at some time and it is a worry that they are being looked after by a tired overworked person.
    The Australian mines had to pay well over the odds to get staff so that is what the did . Governments of both parties need to reassess their spending priorities to look after the essential groups like teachers nurses and police
    So far luck has paid a big part in us being Covid free but when luck runs out we will need a full complement of nurses on hand .

    • I’m sure you know the term Trevor, “you make your own luck”.
      I’m tired of the rhetoric from the likes of Seymour who claim we were lucky with covid. It’s like saying ACT were lucky because National were crap.
      I do agree nurses missed the mark with their wanting 17%
      Perhaps Jacinda should play the John Key card of, “there’s no use going on strike because your not get any more,” or our corrupt Waikato DHB CEO Nigel Murray’s edict at the time, “you need to do more with less”

      • As you are involved personnally I respect your opinion. I was told the 17% was to bring the wages up to what it should be after the equal pay was worked out . They have been dragging their feet on this for the last year.
        What do you feel is a fair offer to retain and attract nurses to the public hospitals.

        • Trevor, yes that is this government’s failure. I am deplored the monies owed have not been remunerated and at a loss to know why this has not been done. As for what is fair I guess is for the negotiators and nurses to determine. Obviously there are factors which we are not private too in determining a specific percentage.My own remuneration will be directly impacted by what ever the nurses achieve. Interesting that Little is on the other side of the negotiating table given he was the head of the Engineers Union in the late 90’s fighting for the workers, oh the irony.
          I add that I do not like the threat of nurses on mass leaving for Australia. It would take more than money to get me to live in Australia and to those who wish to go for the money, good luck to them.

          • Thank you Bert . My son’s live in Australia. 1 is Australian by birth 1 took citizenship. They both say while the money is good it is a tough country to be in if you are not white fit and healthy and NZ people need to understand they get nothing free if they lose their job or need medical help.

          • Take note that 17% was asked by the nurses to be spread over 3 years not in one year. Plus as an above poster says was also including the pay parity segment so it isn’t unreasonable at all.

            • Your definition of reasonable may be completely different to another’s. Remember the Key years when we got nothing.

          • Bert – Threatening to move to Australia was a tactical error, and a bit dumb on the nurses’ part – many of us don’t respond well to threats, perhaps more so when there are reasoned arguments to be had, which there certainly are here. It also has the ring of that little turd John Key.

    • “The Australian mines had to pay well over the odds to get staff so that is what the did”.. Are you saying that is good economics? Considering the vast amount of damage that the Key administration did (with the enthusiastic support of the majority of voters) to NZ’s economic health, and it’s industrial relations, then it’s no surprise that it will take years, or decades to bring balance to the countries systems… You are simply another symptom of why NZ has so badly fucked up what was potentially one of the best places to live in the world… Mindless and self centered support of politicians that owe their allegiance to anyone but the majority of kiwis, then shifting to self centered and irrational/innacurate whining about the fix up taking too long… Which plays into the hands of those who work for the colonial power structure that steals so much from ordinary NZers, that make that wealth… Nzers are their own worst enemy most of the time, and you are just another drone in the swarm..

    • I know there are 2 sides to every arguement. I would be interested in why you are not on side with the nurses. They are on the coal face and need to be listened too. The claim may not have been so high if this government had back rents and house prices. This claim is only the start as all normal wage earns are feeling the squeeze.

    • The several hundred million going to a bridge for bikers would, if otherwise directed, provide a fair dollop to bolster nurses’ incomes, as indeed someone from the Vox Pop commented on TV1 this evening.

    • Shona. Correct. They are an under-valued profession, and it’s a much tougher job than it was in the days when they were regarded as the doctor’s handmaidens.

      Many are highly specialised, and the work is more high tech. In the Wellington neo-natal unit, chances are, right now, they are being challenged ( well they were yesterday and the day before) by immigrant parents asking them to explain themselves, and being ordered around like skivvies, and security having to be called into babies’ first hours on earth.

      I suppose that the nurses could be replaced by police, and the police be replaced by social workers, now that not hurting the clients’ feelings seems to be a number one priority in job requirements, instead of paying all workers properly, and enabling them all to do their jobs professionally and safely. At this point in history, nurses are particularly vital – much more vital than high-maintenance MP’s spouting their tedious pc crap are.

  2. Yeah, but like farmers we don’t need nurses.
    We DO need real estate agents, money lenders, casinos, loan sharks, banksters, accountants, lawyers, sundry bureaucrats, landlords, advertising agencies, TV and Radio ‘personalities’, tourists, insurance companies, car sales persons, sundry brokers, investors and entrepreneurial money fetishists.( read bullshit artists. )
    It’s far more important that we have parasitic money fondlers making good coin than someone who’ll be there when you or a loved one dies in hospital after being cared for all day and all night.
    Nurses deserve at least four times their current salaries and wages while our tax bureaucrats should be de-loused of the scourge of neoliberal scams then once refreshed and rebooted are sent to go and hunt down the riche bludgers who’re are the real, present and clear danger to our AO/NZ.
    Have any of you been in a situation where you think everything’s just fine, hunky dory, sweet-as? You’re unfamiliar with the situation/environment/location/company but based on past experience you cautiously think everything’s just fine?
    Then suddenly, you realise that ‘things’ are definitely not fine. It’s at that point that your bowels go on high alert, your heart rate jumps up a notch or three and you become graphically aware of the fight or flight response trying to help you decide which way the shits going to go down?
    When massive foreign owned companies are given equally massive AO/NZ tax breaks as one of them buys himself past our immigration office to be able to call himself an AO/NZ citizen while our essential infrastructure is treated like irrelevant shit then I get deeply fucking worried.
    If you’re the kind of person who bulks at paying nurses more than they’re asking for then it’s you who’s the problem.

    • Indeed.

      Its my belief we should be a little more like Cuba without the communism and churn out world class medical staff, – that and educators. When a nation neglects either of those two the decent into barbarianism begins. After Richardson’s Employment Contracts Act 1991, this country lost many of its professionals, tradespeople and workers. To the tune of around 650,000 ex pats who now live permanently in Australia From a then population of little over more than 3.2 million souls. And we lost them elsewhere around the world. Why did they go?

      Because of the rottenness we now call neo liberalism. The crudeness of neo liberalism being so blatantly apparent when we hear their enablers sound off that a B.A is a waste of time, – be a plumber instead ( not putting down plumbers- where would we be without them ! ). And why is it a waste of time ? Because A) It doesn’t earn a profit ( for them ), and B) Because a thinking population is a dangerous population that might expose their funny little gamzie wamzies.

      And yes, though I am a worker type, I respect that the advanced society is measured also by those who are released from sheer manual production and are ‘the thinkers’ ( you know, – like the snowy white haired, slightly balding , white bearded math’s tutor in a collared tee shirt , walk shorts and roman sandals I had in my Dip Sc/Tech )…the modern day Aristotle’s, and Socrates of this world… which leads me into ALL THOSE PEOPLE who have gone into great debt by undertaking degrees only to earn a pittance (while those viscous politicians who got their educations for free prior to R. Douglas’s destructive neo liberalism) and have to beat down walls just to get a decent pay rise!

      And we wonder why they piss off the first chance they get to go overseas to earn a decent living!

      The neo liberal is the barbarian at the gate. The destroyer, the wrecker. The puller down of all advanced culture for their own plunder.

      One of the measures of the advanced state is the one whereby medical health workers, education workers and indeed a realistic remuneration for all workers and the unemployed alike live at a standard of relative comfort and participation,… something of which the neo liberal would deny us if given the chance. There never was any ‘trickle down’. There never will be. It was all a lie.

      And because of that fact, compulsory unionism, the award rate is a good thing to push these neo liberal worms out. Our economy used to use as one of its economic equity and inflation guides, – the Consumer Price Index. That was too embarrassing for the neo liberal worms so they ceased using it. They instead gave us GST. A useless banal excuse for filching even more out of us on minimum wages. And let the big multicorporate’s go free regards shouldering their fair share of the tax burden.

      The neo liberal is the barbarian wrecker and plunderer at the gate. I say we should mobilize our legions ( and there are legions of us who have been shafted by these scumbags ) and drive them all the way back to where they came from,- in this case, their stronghold in the Mont Pelerin society in the Square Mile of London.

      And there they can stay.

      In the meantime, lets pay our carers , educators and workers more.

  3. Don’t worry about it. Their negotiations team will sell them out again.
    Their last settlement wasn’t anywhere near the increase claimed by the negotiation team.

  4. Workers should take action whenever they have the membership strength to have a go imo.

    From a class left point of view however, the public sector union bureaucracies have not helped their union members or the public one little bit. They were mostly nowhere to be seen during the Key years. Struggle?–yeah, nah. Honourable exception of course for the Teachers unions who fought tenaciously against Hekia Parata’s National Standards and the usual ACT style bulk funding, performance pay and Charter Schools.

    Working class people generally need to take more direct action–occupying empty residential and commercial property, consumer boycotts, rent strikes etc.

  5. personally i am hoping a whole bunch of skilled staff from our health sector fucks off overseas never to return. love to see our Blairite government bullshit it’s way our of the complete collapse of our health sector. Oh and I am not young and healthy I have serious health problems and I would be hard pressed to pay for all my health needs if this did happen.We undervalue our health sector just as we disrespect and underpay our educators. We deserve to be dysfunctional.

    • Agree Shona, yet our CEOs, bureaucrats and politicians receive world class remuneration.
      Pay the nurses 17 percent more and then some and then start on other workers.

  6. I would like to see nurses push for a pay increase for nurses working in rest homes as they earn much less than nurses in hospitals and medical centres and have to not only look after elderly people with lots of health issues but manage other stuff such as the carers and kitchen staff

  7. Everyone should support nurses in their struggle for a fair go. Cutting back on private sector salaries for bureaucrats & pet consultants would free up some cash.

  8. All down to have we the money? I’ll accept Easton or Bernard’s judgments. Cos social democracy is built on the people’s govt’s interventions. Why I supported the nurses’ last strike. Grant’s neoliberal tightness has nowt of social democracy.

  9. Anyone of us who rely on our health service can at any time find ourselves sick and be admitted to any one of our public hospitals and while you are there you will rely on a nurse or nurses to assist in treatment and care for yourself or a member of your family that you love and is precious.

    These wonderful people have my upmost respect because at any time you could find yourself in need of their expertise and care.

    Not everyone can or will ever do the work that nurses do. They should be amongst our most valued and respected services and if they are starting at 17% with the expectation that you start high and negotiate from there i have no argument with that figure when you look at the expenditure with regards to MPs , the well remunerated bureaucracy and the parasites that gorge on their salaries and benefits.

    For to long we have taken the good people of our public services for granted and expected first world treatment from people who are treated and paid like third world slaves.

    That is neo liberalism in its cruellest form.

    • Mosa- “ Not everyone can or will ever do, the work that nurses do.” Well said indeed. Not for one moment do I think that the State Services Commissioner, or the CE’s of govt’s depts, and the CEO’s of State Owned Enterprises, or those sex and race obsessed Parliamentarians, may have the sort of skill set and personal attributes needed to be a half decent sort of nurse or medico.

      What’s more, I doubt that any of them could justify the obscenely high salaries which they receive courtesy of we, the taxpayers, and which is much more money than they will ever need. It is crazy.

      The PM may have a desire to pay nurses more, but similar sweet words have been spoken about child povidy too, and that has not made one iota of difference to the lives of children starting their lives disadvantaged through absolutely no fault of their own, and receiving the message that they don’t matter. That’s worse than crazy, it’s plain bad.

      And what’s more, all of us who conducted ourselves as requested during Covid quarantines, deserve a little credit for helping to contain the virus, it wasn’t always easy.

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