NZNO's Blog

Plaudits to Rachel Thorn

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Anne Daniels, NZNO President
NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa

Our action to stand united in making our point to Te Whatu Ora and refuse additional shifts from 3 to 9 October has left me proud of my colleagues and of being a nurse.

One nurse, Rachel Thorn is one of 1695 delegates who support members on the ground. Rachel led the way to challenge the decision made by Te Whatu Ora regarding winter payment inconsistencies and inequities. Last week’s unprecedented action was generated from her leadership (Whangārei nursing staff demand better winter incentives) in July. Since then, 80 percent of her colleagues in the Whangarei Emergency Department withdrew their goodwill and declined any extra hours of work.

Rachel has not only worked locally and but also nationally becoming the voice of last week’s action while demonstrating the principles of Maranga Mai!

As a result of her letter, an information gathering survey was sent out on 29 July to all members. We received more than 4000 responses in just over two days. Those responses made it clear that we needed to push back to Te Whatu Ora on the lack of consultation and the pitiful, gender-discriminating winter payment (when compared to our doctor colleagues) offered to nurses.

A survey, has just gone out to NZNO members asking for your experience of this action. Te Whatu Ora has also sent out communications on 30 September.

We expect to see the need for additional hours reducing as a result of COVID-19 and flu infections dropping. There will always be a need for some additional hours, although these are likely to be reduced over time and in line with our normal work now that we are past the peak of COVID and winter.

So, where to from here? The results of the survey sent out, will tell us. But there is one thing I do know, ‘winter is coming’ again. In a context where negotiations are about to start for the tertiary sector, when pay equity and backpay, pay parity, and no movement being made towards financial relief for student nurses or a reduction in immigration barriers for IQNs, I believe there is a growing NZNO member appetite to all stand up and act collectively. Maranga Mai!

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