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New Zealand

Nurse warns plan to turn down next week’s extra shift is probably illegal

Last June, some 30,000 nurses, midwives and other health workers took to the streets to protest wages and working conditions.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rilstone

Nurses across the country are set to turn down all extra shifts next week, but new health officials warn the strike is likely to be illegal.

A special winter bonus of $100 per shift is set to end tomorrow, and the New Zealand Nursing Association, the largest union, said it would introduce a continuous payment system to reflect the pressure on nurses who continue to work overtime. I would like to negotiate about

Nurses organization CEO Paul Golter wrote to all 35,000 members who worked at Te Whatu Ora/Health NZ that unless they are already working, there will be no contracted shifts next week. I asked to work only in

The move has had strong support, he said.

Rachel Thorne, an emergency nurse and union representative in Whangarei, said Te Fatu Ora ignores the fact that even though winter is over, nurses are still going above and beyond. rice field.

“They say they’ll be back to business as usual on October 1st, but we know it won’t be like business as usual.

Since January, nurses in her department have been under pressure to work overtime, she said.

“They need to give us extra time to keep the department safe, so they ask, request, ask, text and call the nurses on Facebook messages for extra time. “I’m wearing it,” she said.

Golter said even though winter is over, nurses still support the healthcare system.

“They’re very upset about the whole process, and because of what happened over the winter and the overall shortage of nurses, right at this time when they’re at their most under the pump..everything.” He said.

In a letter to the union, Te Fatu Ora people’s chief Rosemary Clements said the move was likely an illegal strike.

It was because he refused to do something that was a normal part of his job.

“Nevertheless, recognizing the outstanding contributions that NZNO members have made over the past few months, we do not wish to take a litigious approach to this matter,” she said.

In a written response to RNZ, she said the winter payments were instigated by Te Whatu Ora and had consulted the union.

“This payment is a special measure in response to the extraordinary situation of excessive staff shortages due to Covid-19 illness and may only be applied between 1 July and 30 September 2022. It was made clear at the time,” she said.

Further complicating the compensation for the additional shifts was the fact that there were different contracts depending on where the nurses worked. The hangover from 20 different district health boards, who employed nurses before being changed to Tefatuola in July.

Nurse Rachel Thorne said before the winter payout, her team only got normal rates for working extra shifts, while some of the other hospitals received penalty rates. rice field.

Doctors at Whangarei Hospital have proportionately higher incentives to work extra, she said.

Nurses who worked extra shifts often had additional costs such as helping with child care or caring for elderly parents.

Her team had said no to some shifts outside contract hours since July, influencing action nationwide.

Medical staff at many hospitals across the country say they are noticing little to no reduction in workloads since the Covid and flu outbreak.

Last night, Christchurch Hospital said it was over capacity and urged people to stay away from emergency departments unless they needed genuine emergency care.

Thorn said the staffing problem didn’t start in the winter and won’t end in the winter.

It’s not nurses’ job to fill in the gaps and solve problems indefinitely, she said, and she’s tired of being treated like a “naughty kid” for a fair reward.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/475685/nurses-warned-plan-to-turn-down-extra-shifts-next-week-likely-illegal Nurse warns plan to turn down next week’s extra shift is probably illegal

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