Thousands of nurses are on an eight-hour strike across New Zealand, disrupting non-emergency health services. The union voted for action after failing to reach an agreement for better pay.
Around 30,000 nurses, midwives and health assistants left their jobs on Wednesday, marching and rallying in the streets across the country for better pay and a safer workplace environment. He held placards and said, “Good Health Needs Valuable Nurses” and “Fair pay = more nurses.”
The New Zealand Nurses Organization (NZNO) voted for the strike, which lasted from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, after union members failed to negotiate a deal with the government.
NZNO’s lead advocate David Waite said members were unhappy with the “Pay rates that don’t attract people to the profession or retain people we have, and staffing levels that put them and their patients at risk.”
“We are asking for a salary that reflects our work,” Registered nurse Georgia Dawson told the Stuff News website that nurses feel “under-resourced and under-supported.”
“When we can’t get enough staff, and we can’t guarantee the safety of our patients — it’s terrible,” Intensive care nurse Coral Tamblyn told local media.
District Health Board (DHB) spokesman Dale Olif said talks with the union will continue after the strike ends.
Before the action began, DHB said the walkout would lead to the postponement of some non-urgent elective surgeries, procedures and appointments on Wednesday, but officials were confident there were enough staff. The New Zealand Herald reported that the work of Kovid-19 vaccination centers has also been affected by the strike.
Nurses across New Zealand quit today to protest a pay proposal from Jacinda Ardern’s government. In Wellington they marched to Parliament, where Health Minister Andrew Little could barely be heard over chants of “fair pay, secure staffing”. pic.twitter.com/F3JxrWtPnc
— Ben Mackey (@benmackey) June 9, 2021
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the government was “not in position” To accept the union’s demand for 17% pay hike. “In this covid environment…we are financially constrained,” he said.
“But what we’re offering makes a real effort to lift people in the lowest pay bands,” Ardern told reporters.
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