The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says its 30,000 members working in DHBs have voted in favour of three more strikes: July 29/30 (24 hours), August 19 (8 hours), September 9/10 (24 hours). The strike ballot closed at 12 Noon today.
NZNO lead advocate David Wait said the vote was very high and members clearly remain resolute about ongoing strike action to achieve the recognition and working conditions that will ensure nursing remains a viable profession.
“This is an 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.”
However, he said the DHBs also seem willing to actively seek a solution.
“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.
While he had some optimism about the progress made, David Wait said the issues facing nursing staff remain very real.
“We are facing a national health crisis in terms of safe staffing, recruitment and retention; and the working conditions our members face can no longer be endured and that’s why our issues matter.
David Wait said he had not seen this level of member determination before, and that if agreement is not reached, more nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora will simply leave the profession.
“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.”