Last-ditch effort to avoid nurses' strike

  • 28/06/2018

District Health Boards are working on contingency plans following a second strike notice from nurses.

Nurses have confirmed they will be taking strike action next Thursday and again on July 12.

DHBs have been reprioritising non-acute and elective procedures around the strike dates and are contacting those affected.

Mediation efforts with nurses continue in Wellington on Thursday, in an attempt to settle pay negotiations between the DHBs and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO).

"NZNO will continue to work constructively with DHBs to reach a settlement that is acceptable to members which addresses their concerns," the union said in a statement. "NZNO will not be making any comment or giving interviews until after the facilitation and negotiations process has concluded."

 The DHBs say they are still determined to reach a settlement to avoid the strikes taking place.

Both parties have asked the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to step in to undertake urgent facilitation and make a recommendation on the settlement, in attempts to resolve the deadlock.

"We have asked the ERA for facilitation to help settle these negotiations and will be meeting in Wellington with them and the NZNO on Thursday and Friday," DHB spokeswoman Helen Mason said.

If it goes ahead, the strike will be the first nationwide industrial action taken by nurses since 1989.

If the strikes go ahead, Ms Mason says people should not delay seeking medical treatment and still go to hospital if the matter is urgent. They should dial 111 for emergencies or an ambulance. 

For all other matters, people should do what they normally do and visit their GP or visit a local pharmacy, and free medical advice is available 24/7 through Healthline (phone 0800 Healthline - 0800 611 116).