Primary health care work continues, DHB bargaining concludes

November 1, 2021

A new date has been set down in meditation for long-running NZNO primary health care negotiations with Healthcare New Zealand and NZCare.

The June strike united DHB members in their determination to continue bargaining
The June strike united DHB members in their determination to continue bargaining

Mediation is set down for November 19 and would take place via Zoom, the bargaining team has reported to members.

It comes as all parties agreed that attending bargaining should be the next step in progressing the negotiations.

That bargaining has already run over several days and included two rejected proposed collective agreements, put out to a ratification vote.

It means the old collective agreement has now been expired for 12 months, however terms and conditions for workers in this expired MECA remain.

The main themes behind the members’ rejections of the proposed collective agreements covered a range of areas.

The proposed pay increase was considered too low. There was a disparity with district health board MECA wages, and the lump sum, back-pay portion of the proposed collective was considered too low.

The bargaining team would continue to push for a better offer and would update members on progress after the November 19 meditation.

Meanwhile work continued on the Primary Health Care MECA bargaining schedule with the MECA expiring on August 31 this year.

The online ballot for member endorsement of claim principles, the negotiation team and ratification procedures was set to run at the end of October.

Changes for MIQ workers

Staff working at isolation and quarantine facilities face changes to their COVID-19 testing frequency from November 8. Staff at quarantine facilities who are onsite more than twice a week, will have to be tested every day they work at the facility.

At managed isolation facilities they would have to be tested twice a week.

Those in dual-purpose facilities will follow the quarantine schedule if there’s a case, and the managed isolation schedule with no case.

DHB MECA ratified

NZNO’s bargaining for district health board members has wrapped with a high turnout vote accepting the most recent offer.

The offer included staffing and recruitment requirements, and advances on pay equity claim increases.

It included a June strike, which cemented member solidarity and drew nationwide attention to the cause; and the campaign also saw an important employment court victory for NZNO over life preserving services agreements with DHBs.