Bigger fight ahead for nurses?

Gisborne Hospital medical ward nurse Michell Krawczyk is happy district health boards and nurses have negotiated a collective agreement but says there could be ‘‘a bigger fight” in two years.

The country’s 20 health boards yesterday concluded their collective agreement with nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives after nearly a year of negotiations, including a 24-hour strike in July.

A large majority of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s (NZNO) 30,000 members voted online on Monday to accept the fifth version of the collective agreement.

“I, for one, am glad we have settled for now,’’ said Mrs Krawczyk who is an NZNO delegate.

“I am glad there will be no more strikes, but in the next negotiations, I will be all in if it comes to it again.”

The offer was not great but was a start.

“We can’t fix nine years of under- funding straight away.

“We go back to negotiations in less than two years and if the safe staffing is not on track by then, I believe the DHBs are going to have a bigger fight on their hands in the next negotiations.”

Hauora Tairawhiti chief executive Jim Green, speaking on behalf of all health boards, said they welcomed the agreement and now needed to build trust.

Mr Green said the new agreement was about valuing nurses.

“There are three pay increases of 3 percent, two of which take effect immediately.

“There is a third increase next year, as well as two new steps at the top of the nurses and midwives scale that specifically recognise the skill and experience of this group.”

Last week the Government brokered an accord at Parliament between DHBs and nurses to implement a programme that will ensure ongoing safe staffing at public hospitals using what is known as the Care Capacity Demand Management (CCDM) tool.

Under CCDM, DHBs match demand and resources to ensure patient safety, a safe workplace and organisational efficiency.

Mrs Krawczyk said the accord came at the right time, but health boards had to “deliver on it now”.

The eventual employment of all new nursing graduates was fantastic.

“The only problem is where are we going to find all these extra staff?

“How will we entice them back from Australia or stop them going, or even draw back those into nursing who have given up?

“The wage offer won’t achieve that.

“One hopes that pay equity which is happening at the end of next year delivers well.

“Bringing step 7 forward a couple of months was a kick in the guts, as it was really nothing, but hopefully pay equity will have jolted our wages by then.

“As soon as the offer gets signed off, we get 2 of the 3 percent increase straight away.

Mrs Krawczyk said Hauora Tairawhiti was lucky compared to other DHBs in that CCDM was used to report on staffing.

“Unfortunately, it has not been delivered well so staff are cynical with it, but as the Government has stepped in with the safe staffing accord, we are a bit more positive and hopeful things will change.”

Mr Green said health boards had a lot of work to do and “we’re already under way”.

“The CCDM groups looking at safe staffing levels include NZNO members, and are part of our immediate response with the $38m provided by the Government for recruitment.

“The joint work on the CCDM is the first part – if that work identifies more staff are needed, DHBs will also recruit them as well.”

Mr Green said the agreement was about “giving the NZNO and its members confidence we will deliver on commitments about staffing and resourcing”.

Ruth Newton, a Gisborne organiser of Nurse Florence, a nursing social media organisation, said nurses in the fragmented primary care sector and in the private sector still faced many of the issues raised by NZNO.

“New Zealand, please look after your nurses. We will all need them sooner or later.”

Gisborne Hospital medical ward nurse Michell Krawczyk is happy district health boards and nurses have negotiated a collective agreement but says there could be ‘‘a bigger fight” in two years.

The country’s 20 health boards yesterday concluded their collective agreement with nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives after nearly a year of negotiations, including a 24-hour strike in July.

A large majority of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s (NZNO) 30,000 members voted online on Monday to accept the fifth version of the collective agreement.

“I, for one, am glad we have settled for now,’’ said Mrs Krawczyk who is an NZNO delegate.

“I am glad there will be no more strikes, but in the next negotiations, I will be all in if it comes to it again.”

The offer was not great but was a start.

“We can’t fix nine years of under- funding straight away.

“We go back to negotiations in less than two years and if the safe staffing is not on track by then, I believe the DHBs are going to have a bigger fight on their hands in the next negotiations.”

Hauora Tairawhiti chief executive Jim Green, speaking on behalf of all health boards, said they welcomed the agreement and now needed to build trust.

Mr Green said the new agreement was about valuing nurses.

“There are three pay increases of 3 percent, two of which take effect immediately.

“There is a third increase next year, as well as two new steps at the top of the nurses and midwives scale that specifically recognise the skill and experience of this group.”

Last week the Government brokered an accord at Parliament between DHBs and nurses to implement a programme that will ensure ongoing safe staffing at public hospitals using what is known as the Care Capacity Demand Management (CCDM) tool.

Under CCDM, DHBs match demand and resources to ensure patient safety, a safe workplace and organisational efficiency.

Mrs Krawczyk said the accord came at the right time, but health boards had to “deliver on it now”.

The eventual employment of all new nursing graduates was fantastic.

“The only problem is where are we going to find all these extra staff?

“How will we entice them back from Australia or stop them going, or even draw back those into nursing who have given up?

“The wage offer won’t achieve that.

“One hopes that pay equity which is happening at the end of next year delivers well.

“Bringing step 7 forward a couple of months was a kick in the guts, as it was really nothing, but hopefully pay equity will have jolted our wages by then.

“As soon as the offer gets signed off, we get 2 of the 3 percent increase straight away.

Mrs Krawczyk said Hauora Tairawhiti was lucky compared to other DHBs in that CCDM was used to report on staffing.

“Unfortunately, it has not been delivered well so staff are cynical with it, but as the Government has stepped in with the safe staffing accord, we are a bit more positive and hopeful things will change.”

Mr Green said health boards had a lot of work to do and “we’re already under way”.

“The CCDM groups looking at safe staffing levels include NZNO members, and are part of our immediate response with the $38m provided by the Government for recruitment.

“The joint work on the CCDM is the first part – if that work identifies more staff are needed, DHBs will also recruit them as well.”

Mr Green said the agreement was about “giving the NZNO and its members confidence we will deliver on commitments about staffing and resourcing”.

Ruth Newton, a Gisborne organiser of Nurse Florence, a nursing social media organisation, said nurses in the fragmented primary care sector and in the private sector still faced many of the issues raised by NZNO.

“New Zealand, please look after your nurses. We will all need them sooner or later.”

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