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Proud to nurse

 

 

Registered Nurse Freya Head

 

Yesterday I stood tall at the New Zealand Nurses Organisation press conference in Wellington to be part of the public announcement that the 27,000 strong DHB nurse, midwife and health care assistant workforce had rejected once again the DHB offer for the new collective agreement that included a 2% pay increase this year and next. We are simply worth more, deserve more and need more.

We know that the public health service is creaking with the strain of high demand, more complexities of an aging population and suffering in a climate of funding neglect but we also are a workforce that needs looking after so that we can look after others.

A decade of severe underfunding of our public hospitals has taken its toll on everyone and I feel nurses wear the brunt of this in their everyday lives. We are picking up extra shifts and staying later than we should, missing meal breaks, toilet breaks and going home broken, only to put ourselves back together and do it all over again the next day. We are stretched to our absolute capacity and beyond. This is not sustainable and frankly, not fair.

So yes all of this can’t be fixed immediately with a money tree but we do think a better offer can be achieved. We have waited for a long time for a pay boost, as have others, but we cannot wait any longer, we need it now.

Nurses are beyond stressed and this takes its toll on our health, on our families and our personal relationships. It takes its toll in our working relationships with our colleagues and then those in our care also start to feel this pressure and this is just not acceptable to us.

I used to say to my friends “How about a nursing degree, nursing is fantastic.” I am just not saying that anymore. It is not fantastic at the moment.

Nursing can be a rewarding and great career but not when you are burnt out, expected to do more with less and the prospect of actually getting adequate pay to keep up with the cost of living is no where near in sight.

I go home after shifts and wake up in the middle of the night, worried that perhaps those in my charge won’t actually get the medical attention and support they need. I ask myself “How is this the new ‘norm’? Is this acceptable?” and the answer is no, it’s not.

I feel it is time for the government to pull its socks up and face this head on.

We need to attract and retain our great nursing workforce and the meagre crumbs of percentage increases that barely meet inflation just aren’t good enough anymore.

No nurse would look forward to a strike and many will be stressed with the notion of leaving hospitals in a crisis situation and understaffed. We will have a week of action and we really are planning to garner public support for a pay rise.

Too long have we kept the faith, waiting to be recognised and for our pleas to be heard. Too long have we listened to the promises of a better tomorrow for that day to never come. We need action now. Not in a few years or ten years. Now.

 


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NZNO commitment ongoing

NZNO welcomed the public announcement from the Minister of Finance saying that teachers and nurses were in line for additional funding to enable their pay rates to be addressed through “a decent pay bump”.

A big thank you to our members who have had the courage to tell their stories and experiences of the pressures of nursing in DHBs and other health sectors on social media and through our I Heart Nurses and Shout Out for Health campaigns. I also want to thank our NZNO Board, delegates and staff who have been telling the DHBs and Ministers about the ongoing pressures affecting nursing in meetings, bargaining and many other forums over the last decade.

NZNO is committed to resolving the current DHB MECA bargaining process. We have over 100 years of experience in understanding and advocating for nursing to assist us. We want to achieve a bargaining settlement that represents the kōrero of NZNO members which we can all be proud of.

Together and united we have grown our organisation to over forty nine thousand members. Each of you brings a wide range of perspectives relating to culture, values, political leanings, scope of practice and many other factors. Our membership is our strength.

Several thousand delegates and activists help us achieve our goals.  Nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants like you have shouted out for safer staffing and healthy work places, improved health funding and fairer nursing pay and conditions throughout the last century.

We have been advocating about your reality – that you are stretched to get your work done to your standard, tired at the end of your shift, leave work concerned about your patients and continue to care for them well after you leave work; and that the value and skills required to do your work has not been fully recognised.

We will continue to stand with you to deliver your aspirations.

In solidarity
Cee Payne
RGON, BA | Industrial Services Manager

 

 


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Dear NZNO members

Dear NZNO member

NZNO trusts and respects each of our members to reach their own decision in relation to the DHB MECA bargaining outcome. This is paramount as a democratic union and professional organisation.

The outcome of the vote is in your hands. Our strength is in standing together united as members and staff to implement whatever decision is reached as a result of the second round of DHB MECA ratification meetings.

 

We understand the issues – unsafe staffing, high patient acuity, the undervaluation of nurses work.  inadequate levels of health funding  over the last nine years. This has had a huge impact on you as an NZNO member. Our NZNO staff have continued to remind us of these issues that continue in your DHB workplaces that are contributing to stress and fatigue.

 

We want to assure you that NZNO is listening to the aspirations you have for your employment and profession.

That’s why NZNO progressed our “Shout Out for Health” campaign throughout 2017 to engage with the public and politicians to address health funding and lift the tight fiscal parameters they have been enforced in the health sector. It is also why we ran our “I Heart Nurses” campaign over Christmas to build public support for nursing and the work you do.

When we are in bargaining NZNO staff are required to conduct ourselves in line with the code of good faith for the public health sector which is outlined in Schedule 1B of the Employment Relations Act 2000. As an essential service the code sets out our mutual obligations during collective bargaining including not deliberately attempting to provoke a breakdown in bargaining.

We will continue to stand with you – you can depend on the full force of NZNO to champion your decision. There is power in our collective voice.

In unity.

 

Cee Payne

NZNO Industrial Services Manager


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On International Women’s Day 2018 the NZ Nurses Organisation affirms its commitment to working to remove barriers to full equality for women.

International Women’s Day BLOG 2018

NZNO spokesperson on Domestic Violence, Carol Beaumont

On International Women’s Day 2018 the NZ Nurses Organisation affirms its commitment to working to remove barriers to full equality for women.

We particularly seek to tackle the issue of gender based violence – at work, at home and in the community. Our members see the impact of gender based violence in their roles as health professionals and too many also experience violence themselves. Inter personal violence is a significant problem in our country and in particular, violence against women remains underreported. It brings devastating consequences for victims, their families and the wider community.

Globally unions are committed to addressing issues of workplace violence. Our international nursing bodies – the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Global Nurses United are focused on reducing the workplace violence faced by nurses. This is an issue that is a terrible reality faced by many of our members, the majority of nurses are women.

We are also strongly committed to the campaign of the International Trade Union Confederation campaign to Stop Gender Based Violence at Work.

All of these campaigns are timely, with the global outpouring of concern about issues of violence and harassment faced by women workers across all sectors and industries. #MeToo has become a worldwide phenomenon. News presenter Alison Mau is spearheading the movement here with #metoonz.

The reality is that over a third of women – 818 million women globally – over the age of 15 have experienced sexual or physical violence at home, in their communities or in the workplace (Source: The World Health Organisation).

In June this year the International Labour Organisation (ILO) will take a huge step towards outlawing gender based violence by discussing an international labour standard on ‘violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work’. The ITUC campaign has two components – to build critical support for the adoption of an ILO Convention on this issue and strengthen union action in helping to eradicate gender based violence from the world of work.

NZNO is committed to working on both of these components. We will be urging the Government and business leaders to show their support for such an international labour standard. More broadly we have a comprehensive plan which includes negotiating with employers on working to eliminate violence in the workplace and to support workers who are victims of domestic violence; supporting legislative initiatives including Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence – Victims Support Bill and; using every opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of violence in the first instance and; developing the role of workplace leaders to advocate for change in their workplaces and to support victims.

Yours

Carol Beaumont


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NO consent for CPTPPA

NZNO President Grant Brookes and Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku 13 February 2018 blog CPTPPA

If you’ve been to hospital recently, say for an operation, you’ll know of the form you are always given to sign before any serious procedure can happen: It’s the one asking your permission to do the procedure. Very important.

It also informs you about the procedure, why the doctor recommends it and the expected benefits, risks and side effects. Ultimately, it’s your choice to decide what is done to you.

These important permissions help illustrate why many nurses are still opposed to the ‘revised’ Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP/TPPA) now renamed Comprehensive and Progressive TPP (CPTPP). We are opposed because we still don’t know what’s in it for a start!

There has been no attempt to gain the consent of New Zealanders for this revised CPTPP. Every public poll on the previous deal found a majority of people opposed to it. In effect, we are all being experimented on. We have not been given any detail about the health risks that might come with the new CPTPP.

It’s because of this, nurses are absolutely clear about the need for the Government to publish the ‘secret papers’, engage the relevant experts and commission a full impact assessment on the health of New Zealanders – before signing.

We’re concerned about what the CPTPP will mean for access to affordable medicines – especially for the revolutionary new drugs now in the pipeline, called biologics, which hold the promise of curing diseases like arthritis and some cancers.

We’re concerned that the agreement may have been negotiated in a way which breaches the Treaty of Waitangi, and in addition, could undermine Māori health efforts

We’re concerned that an agreement containing ISDS provisions, which allows investors of big companies to sue whole countries, will limit our ability to tackle the health epidemics of the 21st century – non-communicable diseases like alcohol-related harm, or diabetes and heart disease, which are linked to obesity.

And we’re concerned that the CPTPP will undermine the social determinants that sustain good health.

In 2016, the NZ First MPs on the select committee considering the deal told parliament, “The TPPA will serve only to grow income inequality in New Zealand.” The Labour MPs on the committee said, “The best available analysis suggests that it is likely to lead to a reduction in the number of jobs.”

These things would harm the health of our population. And the agreement makes no reference to protecting health from climate change, potentially the greatest public health threat we are faced with today.

After refusing to endorse the TPPA before the election, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern now says New Zealand will sign up to the deal at a ministerial meeting in Chile next month.

But we know that some of the provisions in the original text which threatened public health, have been the subject of further negotiations.

But those harmful provisions which have been addressed (we’re told) are only “suspended”. They have not been removed from the agreement, and could be reactivated in future. We also don’t know how they’ve been ‘fixed’ so to speak.

Nursing requires a deep commitment to the health and well-being of others. So when nurses say we’re worried about the CPTPP people tend to listen.

This is why the New Zealand Nurses Organisation added our name to a joint letter from health professionals to Jacinda Ardern in November to give an assurance about her bottom-lines for health.

We haven’t had that assurance yet.

So that’s why the NZNO president is joining the Wellington edition of the nationwide public meetings of concerned citizens on the 14th of February and NZNO kaiwhakahaere is in support of this action.

And until we know exactly what’s about to be done to our country’s health by the CPTPP, we do not give our consent.

https://itsourfuture.org.nz/future-home-page/news/

Grant Brookes Kerri Nuku
President Kaiwhakahaere
NZNO NZNO


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DHB MECA BARGAINING PROCESS

DHB MECA bargaining process

Lesley Harry Industrial Adviser

NZNO has a responsibility to uphold its democratic decision making processes and is obliged not to be swayed by influences outside of those processes, including comments on social media.

Social media offers opportunities for engagement on issues that matter to members but is sometimes used to misinform and influence NZNO’s democratic decision making processes.   NZNO has an obligation to act in good faith during bargaining with both employers and members.  Suggestions on social media that members have in the past been coerced to vote in a particular way is incorrect and unhelpful.  A recommendation from the negotiating team and informing members of the options before voting takes place does not equate to telling members how to vote.

The negotiating team when considering its recommendation takes into account a range of important considerations. The reasons for any recommendation is provided before voting takes place. This is so members are able to make an informed decision and not to tell members how to vote.  To suggest otherwise denigrates the collective intelligence of members and voting process itself.

A decision to take industrial action is also one that members must collectively decide on. Such action should never be taken lightly and the required process must be carried out with considerable care to avoid the potential of a legal challenge by employers.  Strike action may only occur after another secret ballot is held following members rejection of the employers offer or subsequent offers. The parties are required to attend mediation first so the process requires us to follow each step and this does take time.    Some comments on social media suggest that strike action may occur at whim and without the need to follow due process, this is simply not the case.

To clarify what happened in 2015, two sets of ratification meetings were held. The negotiating team decided not to recommend the initial offer which members voted against.  As part of that process members were asked why they rejected the offer. Further negotiations were held which did not deliver on the key issues identified by members. The parties attended mediation which led to an improved offer.

Based on the feedback from the first vote and member turnout, the team decided to recommend that offer.  It is always important for the negotiating team to have an indication that members would indeed support industrial action and meeting attendance is one important consideration.  Voting by secret ballot follows a full presentation of an offer and options for the next steps.   Here is what was presented to members at both sets of ratification meetings last time and no doubt a similar message will be presented to members at ratification meetings soon.

Options for voting outcome

 If the offer is accepted then we will complete and sign the MECA as soon as possible.

 If the offer is rejected then we will seek and attend urgent mediation to attempt to improve the offer. We would hope the DHBs would indeed respond to members views.

 If an improved offer is not achieved then we will be coming back for your support for an action plan which may include balloting for some form of industrial action.

 

2017 DHB MECA header


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NZNO celebrates World Smokefree Day by lodging our smokefree services petition

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Today, the 31st of May is World Smokefree Day. Every year the Health Promotion Agency puts out great resources for people want to quit smoking and stay off tobacco for good. They have infographics to download and motivational facts like the one below. Not many people know that smoking makes you deaf!

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Researchers have identified though that without further big changes, New Zealand will not reach our smokefree 2025 goal, particularly for Māori and Pacific communities. That’s why NZNO was distressed when we heard last year that funding for some iwi and community smoking cessation providers was being cut, as well as for advocacy services like the Smokefree Coalition. NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said ““It doesn’t make any sense that on the one hand the Government supports the goal of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, but on the other is pulling funding out of Smokefree advocacy services including the Smokefree Coalition, ASH and Smokefree Nurses. Every day we see the effects of smoking on our patients’ physical and mental health, and the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of their whanau. It’s heartbreaking.”

Nurses working to stop smoking in the community say they need advocacy and specialist services to refer patients to and reinforce their stop smoking message. Porirua Community Union’s Litia Gibson talked about the need for these services to NZNO last year in this video. “Any cut will affect all our services. Because it’s not just the services we provide, it’s the patients and the populations that we are caring for who are already in vulnerable positions.”

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NZNO decided to run a petition with Together, the digital campaigning arm of the Council of Trade Unions, to ask for more funding for these services. Today, we delivered 1823 signed names of nurses, caregivers, midwives, kaimahi hauora and their supporters to Marama Fox MP, in recognition of the longstanding work that she and her predecessors in parliament have done on ending smoking in New Zealand.

Litia and Marama had a little chat afterwards where Litia broke down the issues around referral services and increasing workload for nurses. “Without specialist services, we don’t have the time. You need to pack so much into an appointment, because with health funding where it is, community need is so great.”

Marama agreed on the need appropriate smokefree services and the future benefit this can bring to our country. “Being smokefree puts real money back in the hands of whānau. It protects our future generations, and ensures they don’t have to make the same decision to quit because they never start. It’s all about whānau.”

Marama had brought along a beautiful kete to put our petition in and present it to parliament. Litia in return swapped her red flower to put in the MP’s hair for the afternoon- ‘There, now your outfit is complete!’


We are proud that a little bit of NZNO is being delivered to parliament on World Smokefree day to support our Smokefree 2025 goal. Kia kaha koutou, thank you for supporting this mahi. Your names are now part of history.

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