Letter to Minister Hipkins - Pay Parity for PHC Nurses
Aotearoa New Zealand is facing a challenge like none before. We have come a long way in our fight against COVID-19, but it is not over yet.
However, our country is facing another challenge. Seventy percent of respondents to the NZNO the Primary Health Care Multi Employer Collective Agreement (PHC MECA) survey said they were considering leaving the sector because of higher pay elsewhere.
An experienced nurse on the PHC MECA with the same qualifications, skills and experience is currently paid 10.6 percent ($7,650 per annum) less than their colleagues working for a district health board (DHB). This is completely unjust and undervalues the amazing work PHC nurses do in providing expert care and advice every day – demonstrated so clearly in the COVID-19 response.
Further some medical receptionist/administration staff earn lower than the living wage.
We are in a unique situation where Primary Health Care employers want to pay their nurses pay parity but need to be given additional funding through the DHBs to do so.
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) has been in negotiations since November 2019 to try to resolve this inequity and our 3200 or so PHC MECA members have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action on 3 September as no resolution has been forthcoming.