Nurses reject large pay offer, Government says no more available

Nurses have rejected a half billion dollar pay offer. In response Health Minister David Clark says there is no more money available to “fix nine years of underfunding in one pay round”.

They have been offered a 9% increase but are seeking 15% – that’s a huge adjustment given the low rate of inflation and pay rises over the past decade.

Nurses’ Union:

NZNO seeking urgent mediation

The latest revised DHB MECA offer has been strongly rejected by NZNO members. However, Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne says that as nursing and midwifery is an essential service, mediation or facilitation will begin with urgency. NZNO remains committed to working with DHBs to find a resolution to this impasse and avoid strike action.

“The immediate staffing crisis as a result of the past decade of underfunding of DHBs has taken a heavy toll on nurses and their ability to provide safe patient care.

“Whilst the revised offer was substantially improved, compared to the previous one on pay for some members, members have rejected this. There may be concern about the variability of the offered pay increases.

“The revised DHB MECA offer on pay equity fails to specify how and when outcomes will be implemented. This has created uncertainty for members,” she said.

What is curious is why the NZNO aare taking such strong action seeking such a large settlement now that Labour are leading the Government, but did relatively little over “the past decade of underfunding”.

The Government response:

Minister disappointed nurses reject $500m offer

Health Minister Dr David Clark says he is disappointed that nurses have voted against the District Health Boards’ half-billion dollar offer, the largest made to nurses in more than a decade.

“Nurses are a vital part of our health workforce and clearly feel they have been undervalued over the last nine years. Their frustration is understandable. This offer goes a long way to address their pay and staffing concerns, but you cannot fix nine years of underfunding in one pay round.

“The deal that’s been rejected today is the largest nurses and midwives have been offered since their historic pay jolt 14 years ago under the last Labour-led government.

…the Government has to balance pay demands across the public sector. We have gone as far as we can in terms of extra Government money but hopefully the offer can be reconfigured in a way nurses are happy with.

It seems that nurses have a habit of pushing for pay jolts when Labour is in charge of the finances.

Perhaps they do deserve to be paid substantially more, but this puts the Government in an awkward position.

They are already making a large offer. If they give nurses a big catch-up then it’s likely teachers will be asking for something similar, mental health workers are also trying to get (deserved) increases. The police may then want to maintain parity.

This will substantially increase government spending, and could put pressure on non-government workers who will be left relatively worse off.

Everyone wants to be paid more, but no one wants to be taxed more, or pay higher mortgage and interest rates, or to pay higher prices for goods forced up by wage induced inflation.

Business confidence is wavering at the moment. Uncertainty over the cost of wages won’t help.

This is a very challenging environment for the Government.

31 Comments

  1. Gerrit

     /  June 19, 2018

    Increased government spending requires a greater drain on the tradeable sector, not good for investment or growth or confidence or employment.

    A tightrope to straddle. What will this union led government do?

    Did this union party led leadership before the election not say…no strikes?

    How conveniently forgotten.

    • Gezza

       /  June 19, 2018

      I think Ms Ardern might’ve used the phrase “Not on my watch”, & if so – this gives (at least) a 6 week window during which any strikes could, I guess, be said not to be breaking her promise.

      • PDB

         /  June 19, 2018

        Maybe under ‘Winston’s watch’ whilst she is out of action?

    • Blazer

       /  June 19, 2018

      The tradeable sector stagnated under National.
      The FIRE economy lit up however ,fuelled by property inflation,immigration and attempts to make NZ a tax haven for the benefit of a connected handful.

  2. David

     /  June 19, 2018

    Well they did talk about endless under payment of the state sector it’s only fair they shall out so much money they have nothing left.
    Labour equals higher wages for their union mates, a chunk of cash for Winston and Shane and Jacinda gets to toddle off on leave. Nothing for the Labour manifesto promises…funny as hell but if you elect a nice but not bright PM that’s what hapoens

    • Blazer

       /  June 19, 2018

      Take the state sector out of your life and you would be penniless.

  3. lurcher1948

     /  June 19, 2018

    9 years of nothing under National,the chickens are coming home to roost,another reason why Sir Key cut and ran away

    • Corky

       /  June 19, 2018

      ”9 years of nothing under National,the chickens are coming home to roost,”

      Yes, for Labour. Now you know why I wanted my beloved National Party in opposition this time around, Lurchy.

  4. PartisanZ

     /  June 19, 2018

    Oh no … it’s the end of the neoliberal paradigm’s no-inflation/low inflation bubble …

    After all other costs were reduced to the absolute minimum by outsourcing production to ‘sweatshop economies’, utilizing Third World & ‘Emerging’ economies cheap labour and natural resources – neocolonialism – the downward pressure on pay for [seemingly] absolutely necessary local labour had, inevitably, to reach rock-bottom, when worker resistance would finally expose the fantasy for what it truly is …

    There’s only one way out … Replace the workers with machines, digi-tech, robots and AI

    Next corporate-capitalist fantasy please?

    • Gerrit

       /  June 19, 2018

      Wrong picture. For without customers (AI and robots dont buy much or need feed and water) no corporate can survive.

      I guess in your socialist fantasies the state owns everything and as a mere serf, you are grateful for the crumbs swept from the top table of the Politburo rulers.

      Unless off course you are a Politburo members and as such can lord it over the serfs.

      • PartisanZ

         /  June 19, 2018

        If corporates can’t survive without customers Gerrit, please explain why corporates are shedding worker/customers in favour of digi-mechanisation?

        As AI and robots replace workers, placing ‘demand’ pressure on corporates, inverse social-economic pressure is created in favour of UBI

        I don’t have socialist fantasies …

        Corporate-Private-Capitalism is becoming Enterprise-Social-Capitalism anyhow …

        • Gezza

           /  June 19, 2018

          Like Facebook & Google?

          • PartisanZ

             /  June 19, 2018

            Nah Gezza … Enterprise-Social-Capitalism is a best-case scenario …

            I have to admit corporate-capitalism will create a Pluto-Oligarchic corporate-capitalist Paupacy*

            • Gezza

               /  June 19, 2018

              So many enterprises start out based on nice-sounding values & good intentions & end up totally sold out by the sheer amounts of wealth their founders can make by selling their companies or their souls.

    • PartisanZ

       /  June 19, 2018

      It’s been years since Housing was removed from inflation calculations, an essential ploy to maintain the hypnotic mirage …

      Worse still, otherwise entirely rational people seemed to accept this.

      • PartisanZ

         /  June 19, 2018

        Some social-political pressure to lower immigration numbers may have been the straw that broke the Camel’s back … ???

        Immigration being the other chief mechanism of ‘low-inflation dream’ manufacture …

  5. PDB

     /  June 19, 2018

    Labour had such a tight budget they neglected to have enough to cover the inevitable paybacks required of their union bosses (as Steven Joyce pointed out during the election campaign). This was made worse by handing billions of $ in bribes to NZL First to waste and to first-year students whose future votes are obviously more important to them than things like better pay for nurses & teachers. Add in Ardern’s silly election campaign promise of no countrywide strikes ‘on her watch’ and they are really painted into a corner.

    Labour only have themselves to blame for this predicament.

    • Blazer

       /  June 19, 2018

      what ..predicament?The ones you predict/hope…for!

      • PDB

         /  June 19, 2018

        Can you actually read?

        • Blazer

           /  June 19, 2018

          Yes I can read your ramblings based on your own bias.

          • PDB

             /  June 19, 2018

            All I see from you is your usual non-arguments and meaningless one liners. The truth hurts and obviously you are in a lot of constant pain.

  6. Patzcuaro

     /  June 19, 2018

    Will anyone be on duty to deliver the baby?

  7. David

     /  June 19, 2018

    In some ways it would be good if the nurses walk out and followed by teachers and other state sector workers because hopefully it will give her pause on her crazy back to the 70s wage bargaining idea.
    Imagine walking out when offered a 9% payrise when there is pretty much no inflation.

    • Blazer

       /  June 19, 2018

      no inflation!…yeah right…take a look at executive wages since the….70’s…you have NFI.

    • PartisanZ

       /  June 19, 2018

      Except there isn’t “pretty much no inflation” … There’s a “no inflation bullshit smokescreen” …

      Inflation … with Housing removed from the equation … isn’t inflation … it’s bullshit …

    • Conspiratoor

       /  June 19, 2018

      Poor framing David. Nurses are angry but they are not walking out over a 9% pay rise. If you were to walk a day in a nurse’s shoes you would see first hand the result of years of neglect in working conditions and staffing levels

  8. Zedd

     /  June 19, 2018

    one thing is certain, this Govt. ARE listening to the nurses.. unlike others who despise unions & workers rights

  9. David

     /  June 19, 2018

    “What is curious is why the NZNO aare taking such strong action seeking such a large settlement now that Labour are leading the Government, but did relatively little over “the past decade of underfunding”.”

    Because they have a good chance of success of course.

  10. sarineal

     /  June 20, 2018

    The offer is 9%…over 3 years so 3% per year. They have deliberately made it sound larger and I notice no one tried that trick with the 2% pay rise per year which tracks inflation but wasn’t really a rise in real terms.

    NZNO very much pushed voting for Labour, promising nurses they’d do much better. Hence the disappointment and anger. But NZNO has been ineffective for years, the pay scale has had only 5 steps on it for years and senior positions are as rare as hen’s teeth. If there have been years of neglect it hasn’t come from the government, but the unions who didn’t address recognition of experience and constantly negotiated away other issues, in particular pay parity and tried to push that into the never never.

  1. Nurses reject large pay offer, Government says no more available — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition