Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere
Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa NZNO
An aura of solidarity filled the air as more than 4200 of our members embraced the Maranga Mai! spirit in demanding employers bring their salaries up to par with our colleagues at Te Whatu Ora.
Plunket nurses hit the streets for the first time in decades on Thursday to voice their frustrations together with more than 3500 of their Primary Health Care MECA comrades.
After yesterday’s strikes, last week’s action by nurses from three private hospitals, and our Te Whatu Ora members refusal to work additional shifts three weeks ago, our message is now being delivered louder and clearer than ever.
Although we saw united action across the motu and for many of these nurses, they had taken affirmative action and joined in the ground swell. The vibe was palpable, the support and solidarity from other areas of the medical profession, emergency services and public amazing.
The action effect and optic must go past a few hours of action because the issue we face a historical and deeply entrenched. We must brush off the image that nurses and health care workers are complacent, we must dispel the myth that nurses are in silos across the health system, we need to all come together for the health and safety of not only our communities but for our workforce.
The issue at heart is Pay Parity for Primary Health Care, Plunket and Māori and iwi providers, it continues to be unfair and unjust that the same qualification and NCNZ requirement expected of both nurses that work within Te Whatu Ora and the funded sector should be allowed to be paid differently. Māori and iwi providers have been challenging successive governments for more than 14 years to address this Pay Parity gap and has gone so far as to take legal action against the Crown for continual breaches of unfairness.
Collective action is what is required to make change and we must continue to build member power and challenge unfairness and inequities for all nurses and health care workers in the future. We must raise our voices to the Government so loudly that the sound of nurses is deafening, we can’t be silent anymore. The Government cannot afford turn a deaf ear to our cries much longer or continue to plant their heads in the sand. We have had our fill and we will no longer put up with it. Our voices grow louder, will be heard and we will succeed!