Offer on the table for DHB members, other sectors await voting outcome

October 1, 2021

As the countdown begins for the ratification vote on the DHB MECA, other industrial sectors come to grips with COVID-19.

Negotiations have kicked off for Te Omanga Hospice, and the group of four hospices in multi-employer contract agreement (MECA) bargaining.

They were part of work underway in the private hospital and hospice sector over the past month.

All hospice negotiations would seek gains including a registered nurse step 7, and a senior registered nurse scale such as that in the district health board (DHB) MECA.

Ongoing private hospital negotiations included those with Evolution, which operates Bowen, Wakefield, and Royston hospitals, and also with Braemar Hospital in Hamilton.

Meanwhile, NZNO staff were called to offer ongoing advice across the primary health care sector (PHC) for emerging COVID-19-related issues as the nation grappled with the latest outbreak.

It came as the negotiating dates for the PHC MECA were set for October 18 and 19.

NZNO is seeking a joint meeting with Health Minister Andrew Little.

Andrew Little
Health Minister Andrew Little.

The NZNO primary healthcare team has requested a joint meeting with Health Minister Andrew Little, the NZ Medical Association and Green Cross Health as soon as possible to discuss funding for pay parity in this year’s MECA.

With the prison health service’s collective agreement offer rejected by NZNO members, negotiations were set to resume once Corrections Association of New Zealand, and Public Service Association members’ ratification was completed. This was delayed by COVID-19.

The NZNO team was working with the Department of Corrections on the COVID-19 Risk Assessment process, with cases spreading south of the Auckland border.

COVID-19 was also impacting on bargaining in the aged care sector across the operator chains.

Bargaining started with BUPA, in a combined online and face-to-face format.

Meanwhile bargaining was postponed with Oceania – pending alert level announcements for Auckland. The team was considering moving the process fully online if Auckland remained in lockdown.

Negotiations with Radius followed a similar path, awaiting alert level announcements for Auckland.

Ongoing DHB MECA negotiations saw a new offer put to members. The Employment Relations Authority offer would go out for a member vote from October 8 to October 15.

It was the latest step in long running negotiations taking place in the lead up to a major overhaul of the health system, and pay equity negotiations.

The outcome of the DHB bargaining would have flow-on effects in other sectors, such as NZ Blood Services, with a collective agreement expiring on December 10.

Once the DHB bargaining was resolved, a timeline could be set for the blood service bargaining.