August 17, 2021
Green light for nurses’ pay equity talks
Health Minister Andrew Little says It’s time for district health boards, the Health Ministry and unions to start negotiations on the pay-equity claim for nurses employed by DHBs.
Cabinet yesterday agreed on the mandate under which DHBs will negotiate and the funding to meet the cost of the resulting agreement, which is expected to add hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the current payroll for nurses.
He says normal collective bargaining is not equipped for dealing with historical pay equity issues.
That process stalled after nurses rejected offers from DHBs which included cost of living adjustments as well as what was effectively an advance on any pay equity agreement.
Mr Little says the pay equity process has taken longer than anyone expected, because it involved confirming whether there is sex-based undervaluation of nurses, identifying comparable jobs or occupations, and quantifying the equity gap.
The Minister also announced the formation of a nursing advisory group which will review the implementation Care Capacity Demand Management agreement in the safe staffing accord, which was supposed to address work conditions and short-staffed shifts.
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