Midwives to strike in New Zealand over pay and working conditions

on 01 June 2021

Midwives are expected to join nurses and healthcare assistants in a planned strike against pay and working conditions neck week (9 June 2021).

Members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) will walk out for eight hours from 11am to 7pm in a protest against their pay and working conditions which is part of a national strike campaign by 30,000 union members.

In a statement, Leading Advocate and NZNO Industrial Advisor David Wait said: “Members are angry and frustrated at the first DHB offer received last month. That would have given members little more than 1.38 per cent, just under the rate of inflation. This is despite the incredible sacrifices they made in 2020 to keep the country safe from COVID-19.

“That anger has been clearly expressed in the strike ballot result, but this is about much more than just money.

“Nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora have been working under horrific and unsafe staffing conditions for a long time, made much worse by the pandemic, and they are genuinely worried about the future of the nursing profession.”

The Taranaki District Health Board is one of the areas affected by the planned strike and have released a statement that they are working closely with the NZNO to ensure emergency and essential health services remain available during this time.

“Our aim is to keep everyone safe during the strike – patients and staff alike – and that means significant changes to normal services,” they said in their statement.

Taranaki District Health Board Chief Executive, Rosemary Clements, said that essential services such as maternity services will continue to operate, however some services will be unavailable such as outpatient and elective services which may close before the strike.

She said: “This is to ensure the number of patients in hospital is as low as possible, so that care can be provided safely. We will maintain only the very minimum of services during the strike. Many outpatient clinics will be closed and elective surgery postponed. We will be contacting patients directly if their appointments need to be rescheduled.

“Taranaki DHB has a deep respect for our nurses, healthcare assistants and midwives. They are a highly valued part of our workforce, committed to caring for our patients. We respect their right to take industrial action and we would like to thank the public for their patience at this challenging time.”

Source: stuff.co.nz