Nurses vote to strike on Thursday

Nurses have voted to go ahead with a strike on Thursday, seeking more pay than the current offer that probably looks quite generous to most people.

RNZ:  Hospitals prepare for nurses strike

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) rejected the latest district health board pay offer yesterday, saying more money was needed to avert the strike.

The Employment Relations Authority has ordered them back into talks which are due to continue today.

As negotiations have unfolded, so too have plans for life-preserving services during the 24-hour industrial action, scheduled to start at 7am tomorrow.

This means a lot of disruption, especially for people scheduled for operations, treatments and outpatient appointments. It will take a lot of organising by hospitals to cope.

Wellington’s Capital and Coast DHB’s chief medical officer John Tait estimated 6000-8000 elective procedures nationwide will need to be deferred.

It would pose major challenges for the country’s 20 DHBs but medical directors have insisted they’re as prepared as they can be, he said.

Sue Hayward, chief nursing and midwifery officer at Waikato District Health Board, said an agreed number of nurses would working during the strike – a measure taken with the support of the NZNO.

They can’t just clear out all the hospitals so some care is still required.

Director of child health at Starship, Dr Mike Shepherd, said Auckland District Health Board was as well prepared as it could be.

“We’ve been contingency planning now for a couple of weeks because of the need to reduce the number of patients in the hospital and to make sure we’re able to provide safe services over the strike period.

Dr Vanessa Thornton, chief medical officer at Counties Manakau DHB, said acute services would be prioritised during the strike.

“Obviously the elective side of the services will be cancelled because we won’t be able to provide that service. Winter is a busy time for us and so we have prepared our life-preserving services around our current occupancy and acuity.”

Bay of Plenty DHB chief medical officer Hugh Lees said they had a reasonable idea of the number of emergency patients they would normally get, though couldn’t be certain.

ODT:  Nurses’ strike affects 450 patients

The Southern District Health Board has started contacting hundreds of patients to cancel and reschedule appointments booked for tomorrow, after nurses voted to strike.

Up to 75% of the frontline health workforce will be missing from work tomorrow, when members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation go on strike.

About 450 patients at Dunedin and Southland hospitals will be affected by the strike.

Industrial action scheduled for last Thursday by about 30,000 NZNO members was averted by a last-minute revision of the DHBs’ pay offer, a change the NZNO recommended members accept.

However, members rejected it, meaning tomorrow’s strike remains on.

”The vote was closer this time … but we have a simple majority rule and that simple majority was met,” NZNO industrial services manager Cee Payne said.

”We would have to consider balloting further [on strike action] if there was no shift at all in terms of the current impasse.”

Additional government funding to address NZNO members’ concerns about pay rates, pay equity and staffing issues would be needed to head off the strike, Ms Payne said.

A lot of disruption and cost. Probably not a lot of sympathy for nurses who already look like getting fairly sizeable pay increases.

Stuff: Acting PM Winston Peters ‘very disappointed’ by nurses strike decision

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters says the Government is “very disappointed” by the decision by the Nurses’ Union to strike.

“The Government’s offer would herald the highest pay increase by far for nurses in 14 long years,” said Peters.

He said the Government still believed there was time to avoid the strike.

I guess the strike could still be averted but that’s looking unlikely if a vote was needed to change the decision.


  1. Blazer

     /  July 11, 2018

    Rejig the DHB’s and the obscene remuneration there and give the savings to the nurses.
    They deserve more.

  2. lurcher1948

     /  July 11, 2018

    Take all the goldplated super schemes of retired PMs and all their perks like cars etc and put them on national super like us REAL workers

    • I wonder if you ever had to work 17 hour days, be on call 24/7, have from 4.30 pm free on your ‘holidays’ and the rest ot the things that MPs and PMs have to do.

      If someone has their own super scheme, why should they be expected to give it up ?

      With one exception, none of the MPs and Ministers whom I have known have had a ‘pay rise’ as a politician.All were better off before they were elected, none worked the hours of MPs.

      • lurcher1948

         /  July 11, 2018

        yawn oops YAWN there fixed it for you

  3. David

     /  July 11, 2018

    The unions agreed to the very generous offer be interesting to see why the nurses are not happy about a huge pay rise and being able to quite easily earn 93k a year. Kind of lost a bit of sympathy for them.

    • Blazer

       /  July 11, 2018

      senior nurses won’t see the pay rise for..2 years.FFS a back bench M/P earns over 140 k a year and most of them don’t know what is.

      • Don’t be a fool. Look at the hours they put in, and the responsibility. Who else is on call 24/7 ?

        The nurses are being plain greedy, and I think that people who didn’t know what they earned and were demanding will be a lot less sympathetic when they do find this out.

      • David

         /  July 11, 2018

        Why would you compare an MPs salary against a nurses it makes no sense, totally irrelevant comparison.
        I would pay them more than teachers who are well overpaid in NZ, less than firemen and about the same as a copper.

        • Conspiratoor

           /  July 11, 2018

          Interesting comparison David. Nanny State’s obsession for rewarding mediocrity aside I would rank a good cop marginally higher than a nurse, followed by teachers and then a long way back to a fireman

          • Conspiratoor

             /  July 11, 2018

            Actuellement, I’ve had a rethink…

            An outstanding teacher can change a life. Par exemple Miss Campbell, Murrays Bay Intermediate, circa 1967

          • Fight4NZ

             /  July 11, 2018

            You think Nanny State rewards mediocrity? Have you seen the private sector in action. Spray a few up-to-the-minute management buzz words around and you’re CEO material.
            Unfortunately the necessary empathetic and compassionate qualities in Nurses precludes them from the massively overpaid while underperforming set.

  4. Zedd

     /  July 11, 2018

    Winston said ‘this is as good as it gets’ (paraphrased)
    Natl would have us believe they are striking as a protest against this new Govt. BUT most realise it is because after 9 looooong years, (ignored) we now have a Govt. who are at least listening to the workers !

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 11, 2018

      You mean they are striking because they think this Govt is weak and will give in.

      • Blazer

         /  July 11, 2018

        you are fortunate that you are in good health Al.A short stay in hospital and I’m sure your appreciation of the work our nurses do would make an impression.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  July 11, 2018

          Like the rest of us, nurses range from the wonderful to the terrible. Ask any nurse.

        • Gezza

           /  July 11, 2018

          I think they are striking because they are demanding more money from either the government or the DHB, & their union officials think they will get it.

          • Callum

             /  July 11, 2018

            Except the union recommended taking the offer. The story from a nurse I know is there is some discontent over the split between registered nurses and other nurses. She personally refused to strike on ethical grounds, expects to be short staffed and they have not been told who is striking and who isn’t and aren’t allowed to ask directly. Some nurses are apparently planning to just call in sick to avoid being unpaid while they strike.

          • A friend’s experience when her husband was taken into hospital dying was appalling. One nurse said gleefully that they’d be doing an autopsy, as if N was responsible for the fatal brain bleed They kept asking accusingly what had caused it, as if she would know or had done something to cause it. They wouldn’t bring her a phone, they were dreadful to her as her husband lay dying. It was a few years ago, but the memory of the callousness towards her in those circumstances still causes distress when N thinks or talks about it.

            My experience was very different, but I have observed some very offhand treatment of patients at times. Nothing as bad as N’s, thank goodness.

          • Gezza

             /  July 11, 2018

            Thanks for the clarification about the official union stance, Callum. Each place will have its own union reps. They’ll be wondering if it’s worth the hassle. I was in that position once. Never again.