Coast nurses press case

Striking Ngati Porou Hauora (NPH) nurses passionately presented their case for pay parity at yesterday’s district health board meeting.

A 24-hour strike by 21 nurses and healthcare assistants ended at 7am today.

Fourteen nurses carrying placards also presented a petition from their East Coast community-supporting nurses, who are paid significantly less for doing the same work as their health board counterparts.

Several of the 14 nurses spoke directly to the board, with one saying NPH nurses were paid $14,000 less than health board nurses.

They were passionate about their struggling community.

“If you want to be Third World — come up to the East Coast.’’

Many doctors and nurses had left the Coast.

“We have taken a zero pay increase in recent years.

“We’ve had enough.’’

Hauora Tairawhiti board chairman David Scott thanked the nurses for their presentation and said there would be a board response as requested.

The nurses moved on to Ormond Road with their placards to seek public support.

Christina Couling, New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) organiser, said their 21 NPH members had been suspended.

The suspension would be lifted when the strike ended.

Ms Couling said the Employment Relations Act allowed employers to suspend striking workers.

“But we think it was not legally compliant, because no one was on strike when they gave notice of suspension.’’

The suspended staff included those who were to provide life-preserving services as was legally required.

“We have provided coverage because we don’t want anyone to get hurt.

“They are working through the suspension.’’

Ms Couling said she did not know the point of suspending striking workers.

‘‘It’s a bit of heavy-handedness and totally unnecessary’’.

Their members at NPH were saying they had never been suspended before.

“ We think it’s unlawful.

“ We will be taking more legal advice after the strike.’’

Ms Couling said if the suspension was unlawful, NZNO members would have to be paid.

NPH’s new formal offer, made after last week’s mediation, would go to members for formal ratification.

If that was rejected, ‘‘further strategies’’ including another strike, would be discussed.

“The members saw the offer last week and were pretty clear they wanted to continue with strike action (yesterday).”

Striking Ngati Porou Hauora (NPH) nurses passionately presented their case for pay parity at yesterday’s district health board meeting.

A 24-hour strike by 21 nurses and healthcare assistants ended at 7am today.

Fourteen nurses carrying placards also presented a petition from their East Coast community-supporting nurses, who are paid significantly less for doing the same work as their health board counterparts.

Several of the 14 nurses spoke directly to the board, with one saying NPH nurses were paid $14,000 less than health board nurses.

They were passionate about their struggling community.

“If you want to be Third World — come up to the East Coast.’’

Many doctors and nurses had left the Coast.

“We have taken a zero pay increase in recent years.

“We’ve had enough.’’

Hauora Tairawhiti board chairman David Scott thanked the nurses for their presentation and said there would be a board response as requested.

The nurses moved on to Ormond Road with their placards to seek public support.

Christina Couling, New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) organiser, said their 21 NPH members had been suspended.

The suspension would be lifted when the strike ended.

Ms Couling said the Employment Relations Act allowed employers to suspend striking workers.

“But we think it was not legally compliant, because no one was on strike when they gave notice of suspension.’’

The suspended staff included those who were to provide life-preserving services as was legally required.

“We have provided coverage because we don’t want anyone to get hurt.

“They are working through the suspension.’’

Ms Couling said she did not know the point of suspending striking workers.

‘‘It’s a bit of heavy-handedness and totally unnecessary’’.

Their members at NPH were saying they had never been suspended before.

“ We think it’s unlawful.

“ We will be taking more legal advice after the strike.’’

Ms Couling said if the suspension was unlawful, NZNO members would have to be paid.

NPH’s new formal offer, made after last week’s mediation, would go to members for formal ratification.

If that was rejected, ‘‘further strategies’’ including another strike, would be discussed.

“The members saw the offer last week and were pretty clear they wanted to continue with strike action (yesterday).”

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Dean Drummond, New York - 20 days ago
Coast Nurses Unite. The rest of you in Aotearoa . . . get your act together, these nurses care for our disadvantaged and elderly and provide the same service expected anywhere else, and should receive the same benefit as other health board operatives. Make this right.

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