Hauora Tairāwhiti prepares for strike action

22 June 2018

Strike notice has been received from the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation (NZNO) for the 5th of July 2018. 

NZNO nursing and healthcare assistants covered by the NZNO MECA have issued notice for a full withdrawal of labour for 24 hours from 07:00 am on 5 July. Notice for a second strike 24-hour strike from 07:00 am on 12 July is expected next week.

Approximately 95% of nurses and healthcare assistants at Hauora Tairāwhiti are members of NZNO, meaning that there will be more than 380 of these staff members on strike. All midwives employed by Hauora Tairāwhiti are members of the Midwifery union, MERAS, and therefore are not involved in the intended industrial action.

Mediation started on Friday 22 June, when national negotiation teams from NZNO and the DHBs sat and tried to come to an agreement in an effort to avoid the strike action.

For Hauora Tairāwhiti, there will be significant disruptions to all services. Jim Green, Hauora Tairāwhiti Chief Executive says “We have a very experienced contingency planning team which has put together a plan for essential services and to ensure the organisation runs as smoothly and safely as possible during the strike period. The main focus is patient and staff safety.” 

The contingency plan includes how the wards and departments will be managed during the strike period.  In addition, an agreement will be in place between the union and the DHB to ensure that there is staff available for critical situations.  This is referred to as Life Preserving Services (LPS). 

Plans are underway to reschedule planned services leading up to and during the strike period to minimise delays for patients to be seen.  During the period of the strike, inpatient wards will be open, as will the emergency department.  To support these areas all planned services will be deferred.

Most areas of the hospital will remain open, although there will be significant changes to the way we work and provide service during strike action.  

The main message for the Tairāwhiti community leading up to 5 July is to see their GP or nurse or call Healthline 0800 611 116 in preference to coming to the emergency department for non-emergency problems. However, for urgent cases, you should not delay in seeking medical attention or coming to the emergency department.

For any concerns from the public regarding appointments or services, the hotline 0800 800 620 has been created and is now active.