Primary health care has seen a raft of activity over the past month.
Bargaining was initiated with 500 individual employers, and there were six newly initiated parties as a result of a member ballot.
NZNO received notifications from some employers saying they had no member employees – and these would be double-checked before any withdrawal took place.
Bargaining started in the Family Planning sector, with the existing collective agreement expiring on August 31.
Meanwhile, negotiations with the NZ Blood Service remained postponed: new dates were still to be set when the outcome of district health board (DHB) MECA bargaining was clearer. The multi-employer collective agreement expired on December 10, 2020.
Also, due to the ongoing bargaining over the DHB MECA, and to support resourcing, an online ratification was expected for the Prison Health Services bargaining. The collective agreement expired on June 30, 2021.
The ratification process continued for the hospice MECA, covering 18 hospices, which are divided into two groups.
An online ballot for the hospice MECA 14 group ran till August 3.
With the other four hospices’ MECA, there were Zoom information meetings held with members, to be followed by an online ballot running from August 6.
District health board MECA
Broader sector bargaining has gone on against the backdrop of the DHB MECA negotiations, which took another turn in August with about 30,000 members rejecting the latest offer from DHBs.
NZNO issued strike notices to DHBs, ahead of a planned eight-hour nationwide strike on August 19.
The notice was for the second of three planned strikes and came after members voted to reject the DHB offer on the grounds that it failed to set out how safe staffing will be addressed and how the DHBs would be held accountable for it.
The nationwide strike will take place on August 19 from 11am to 7pm.
MIQ and border workers would be exempt and life-preserving services would be provided in negotiation with the DHBs.
Internationally qualified nurses
NZNO internationally qualified nurse (IQN) members have been supporting efforts to change immigration rules that prevent partners from joining them in Aotearoa.
Efforts included a petition presented to Parliament on August 4, requesting the removal of the rule requiring partners to be living together to be considered partners.
The rule affects the likes of people who were engaged but not living together.
While the rules do not apply specifically to nurses, some IQNs have decided to leave the country rather than remain separated from loved ones.
NZNO has given its support to the petition.