Nurses to rally in In­ver­cargill

The Southland Times - - NEWS -

South­ern nurses have been called to ac­tion, with a rally planned to­mor­row to cam­paign for safer staffing lev­els and pay in­creases.

The rally was is sched­uled to take place in Wach­ner Place from noon, and comes af­ter me­di­a­tion at­tempts be­tween the New Zealand Nurses Or­gan­i­sa­tion and district health boards last month failed to pro­duce a new pay agree­ment.

New Zealand Nurses Or­gan­i­sa­tion or­gan­iser Lor­raine Lobb said she was hope­ful of a large turnout for the rally.

‘‘We hope our mem­bers come out and fly the flag, and we’ve got some signs that they can hold up, but what we’re ask­ing is for the pub­lic to sup­port our mem­bers around the is­sue of pub­lic fund­ing in the health sec­tor.’’

The ac­tion is part of a se­ries of ral­lies through­out the coun­try, with pre­vi­ous gath­er­ings in Auck­land, Christchurch, Welling­ton, Dunedin and Master­ton.

The cen­tral city lo­ca­tion of the rally was a point of dif­fer­ence from some of the other ral­lies around the coun­try.

‘‘A lot of the ral­lies have actu- ally been within the hos­pi­tal area but of course in In­ver­cargill we’re do­ing some­thing spe­cial by tak­ing the rally to town, be­cause the hos­pi­tal is not quite in the cen­tral place of some of the oth­ers.’’

A strong pub­lic show of sup­port had been seen at the ral­lies else­where in New Zealand, Lobb said.

‘‘It’s around get­ting pub­lic sup­port that we be­lieve that health has been un­der­funded and as a re­sult of that our nurses and mid­wives and health­care as­sis­tants have been short-staffed, over­worked and now feel un­der-val­ued be­cause of the re­cent of­fer made by the DHB.’’

The rally was not a strike, and union mem­bers were re­quested to at­tend out­side of their work hours, with Lobb say­ing ‘‘as far as the staff is con­cerned [at­ten­dance] is in their own time or on their breaks’’.

Nurses, mid­wives, and as­so­ci­ated health­care work­ers re­jected a pay of­fer in March that in­cluded a 2 per cent an­nual in­crease in salary, a $1050 lump-sum pay­ment and a com­mit­ment to a pay eq­uity set­tle­ment no later than July 1.

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