Hospice members reject proposed offer

April 1, 2021

Members covered by the national hospice multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) have rejected a proposed offer which did not reach their original claim of pay parity with the NZNO/district health board MECA.

Another day of negotiations was scheduled for April 14 in Palmerston North. “We are hoping to secure an improved offer,” NZNO advocate Danielle Davies said.

One of the major reasons for rejecting the offer was that the new step 6 for registered nurses was not going to be implemented soon enough, she said. In the rejected offer, step 6 would have been implemented on April 1, 2021. Members felt it should have been implemented earlier, particularly as the previous MECA expired on August 31 last year and bargaining had been underway since September.

Senior nurses were concerned at the lack of transparency around the scope and nature of their roles. There is a five-step senior nurse pay scale, but no explanation of what roles were covered by each step and there had been no scoping of senior roles, Davies said.

Senior nurses also wanted their professional development recognition programme payments to be stand-alone allowances, not absorbed into their salaries, as they are now.

And there had been no movement on a claim to remove individual hospice exemptions from the current hospice MECA. The current MECA covers 520 members in 21 hospices around the country.

The negotiating team is NZNO staff Lynley Mulrine and Danielle Davies (Christchurch), Donna Ryan and Sue Wolland (Palmerston North) and registered nurse delegates, Rachel Clarke (Arohanui Hospice, Palmerston North), Julia Fletcher (Harbour Hospice, Hibiscus Coast), Donna Burnett (Nelson Tasman Region Hospice Trust, Nelson), Shelley Bignell (Te Omanga Hospice, Lower Hutt) and Nicki Twigge, Waipuna Hospice, Auckland.