Primary health care: New deal at Family Planning

March 1, 2021

The first-ever national strike at Family Planning (FP), scheduled for February 16, was averted thanks to mediation last month and a revised collective agreement (CA).

The revised CA was ratified late last month. The wage increases, the minimum of which is three per cent, are all fully backdated to April 1, 2020, and the newly-ratified CA will expire on August 31 this year.

Mediation last month resulted in formal agreements between NZNO and FP. These included starting the joint national healthy workplace forum by the end of March and establishing a working group on nursing classifications to start working in May, primary health care industrial adviser Chris Wilson said.

Budget bid

At mediation, FP made clear it did not have funds to provide any further pay increases at this time. These could only be achieved with additional funding. The Ministry of Health (MoH) gave FP the authority to confirm at mediation that FP has put in a “budget bid” for the year July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. FP reiterated it fully supported staff being paid more and had repeated this in discussions with relevant ministers and the MoH. The MoH’s confirmation of FP’s budget bid was the the first sign of a potential breakthrough, Wilson said. NZNO and FP are to work collaboratively to provide information jointly to ensure the “budget bid” by the MoH was well informed.

Separate joint working groups for registered nurses, health promoters and medical receptionists will meet later this month. These will establish occupational comparators (eg relevant district health board positions for the nurse groups) for each of the groups covered by the CA. NZNO will provide information to the working groups before their meetings.

NZNO and FP will develop a joint briefing paper, based on the results of the working groups’ information, to present to relevant ministers and the MoH. They are also going to request a meeting with the Minister of Health (Andrew Little) and the MoH before mid-April to present the briefing paper and other relevant information, Wilson said.