Acting Prime Minister, Rt Hon Winston Peters, says the Government is naturally very disappointed nurses plan to strike on Thursday, having rejected the recommendation of their union to accept the District Health Boards’ latest pay offer.
“We understand the DHBs and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation are continuing with urgent facilitation talks. We encourage them to find a solution that will avert industrial action,” said Mr Peters.
“The Government had doubled its offer. In addition to a pay increase, the offer sought to address staffing issues by adding 500 extra nurses, recognise the experience of longer serving nurses by adding extra steps to the pay scale, and by bringing forward pay equity discussions. The Government’s offer would herald the highest pay increase for nurses in 14 years,” he said.
“Patient safety is paramount should the strike proceed. To that end, DHBs have made contingency preparations with elective procedures and non-urgent treatments already being deferred and re-booked. DHBs have also signed Life Preserving Services Agreements with the NZNO to ensure that patient and staff safety is protected.”
“Our nurses are caring and dedicated professionals and this Government values them. We are focused on trying to establish a social contract with nurses and other people doing vital work in the public service to address their concerns,” said Mr Peters.