Nurses angry new pay deal announced to public

Nurses are disappointed DHBs told the public about a new pay deal.
Nurses are disappointed DHBs told the public about a new pay deal. Photo credit: Getty

Nurses are distressed and disappointed that District Health Boards (DHBs) have told the public they could earn up to $93,000 under a new pay deal.

A nine percent increase over the next 15 months has been proposed and is under consideration by the Nurses Organisation.

But spokesperson Cee Payne says members are angry the offer was announced publicly.

"It's most unfortunate... it's certainly nothing that we've ever seen before in our bargaining and it's very disappointing."

She says when it comes to pay deals, standard practice is that nurses would be informed of any new offers rather than employers announcing it to the public.

The Nurses Organisation claims a nurse would have to work fulltime, as well as weekends, nights and overtime to earn the $93,000 being touted.

"The figures that are being quoted by the DHB and media now don't reflect the reality of what most members earn," Ms Payne says.

She says the public announcement of the pay deal could jeopardise negotiations.

"It doesn't bode well for us getting to a conclusion if this is the behaviour that we're going to see from now on."

She says the organisation wants to maintain a strong line of communication with DHBs during these talks.

"What we're hoping for is that the DHBs actually do come back to us and continue to dialogue directly with the union, and not undermine the union in terms of our relationship."

DHB spokesperson Helen Mason says the pay offer is a fair deal that rewards nurses and widwives for their skill and experience with a "significant" increase in wages.

"When all the different elements of the package are put together, the average earnings of an experienced registered nurse at the top of the scale will go up by more than $10,000 during the term of this deal – that almost $200 a week more than they earn now.

"An experienced registered nurse would currently earn $80,163 made up of base pay with allowances and penal rates.  Within 18 months, the average income would rise to $92,911 when all elements of the offer are applied."

She defended the DHBs' decision to publicise the pay deal, saying there is "intense public interest" in the matter.

"I think people want to know that DHBs have taken on board the panel's recommendations that responded to the nurses' concerns.

"I hope nurses will take time to consider the offer that we understand will be explained to them by their union on Thursday."