A PHC pay offer before Christmas?

December 1, 2020

Primary health care (PHC) nurses took to the streets again last month in their first-ever 24-hour strike.

This followed an eight-hour strike two months previously, on September 3, in a campaign to achieve pay parity with nurses working for district health boards (DHBs).

A second 24-hour strike scheduled for November 23 was cancelled. This followed assurances from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and DHBs that the employers were ready to return to negotiations with an improved pay offer.

At press time, no offer had as yet been made, though it was hoped negotiations, due to resume on December 7, would prove more positive. It has been estimated that nurses need to be paid an extra 10.5 per cent to bridge the pay gap between experienced PHC and DHB nurses.

“NZNO is very clear that if there is not an improved offer by December 7, we will immediately ballot for industrial action,” PHC industrial adviser Chris Wilson said. “We need Government and employers to stump up with the money urgently.”

The MoH has confirmed the matter is urgent for them and it was working to find a solution.

Around 3200 PHC nurses and administration staff work in about 500 general practices and medical centres throughout New Zealand.