The Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff said that today’s vote from New Zealand Nurses Organisation members to reject the latest agreement offer from District Health Boards showed the cumulative strain of nine years of health underfunding has reached breaking point.
“Collective bargaining is a reflection of the mood of the workforce. It’s clear in this case that nurses have so many pressures on their incomes, their work hours, and on their patient loads because of inadequate staffing,” he said. “Industrial action isn’t a decision taken lightly by anyone, especially caring professionals, and it certainly isn’t the outcome we want to see. But neither is years of this mostly-female profession being undervalued and underappreciated, and I think it’s come to a crisis -point reflected in this vote”.
“Around the world, we are seeing a wave of action from women who basically have had enough of waiting for things to get better and are expressing their absolute frustration. NZNO members have used this opportunity to have their say loud and clear – they’re not willing to keep on waiting for improvements which have been delayed and denied for so many years.”
“I have confidence in the professionalism of nurses and the DHBs to safely manage any industrial action to protect life and limb.”
“However, it’s never too late to talk. This vote sends a strong message to the DHBs, and I hope to see them back around the table with the nurses’ representatives to reach an acceptable settlement soon.”