Care for women and babies 'number one priority' during midwives’ strikes

19 November 2018

Starting Wednesday 7 November, all DHBs were issued a series of strike notices by midwives’ union MERAS. This affects DHB-employed midwives but not Lead Maternity Carers.

Liz Lee Taylor, Hauora Tairāwhiti Director of Midwifery, says “The safety of women and their babies is the number one priority in the lead-up to and during the strikes.”

Puawai Aroha Maternity at Gisborne Hospital will remain open and operational during the strikes. “At all times during the strikes there will be a midwife available,” Miss Lee Taylor added.

Women should come to their scheduled appointment unless they have been contacted to say their appointment is being postponed.

Miss Lee Taylor also advised that women should call Puawai Aroha Maternity if they have any questions on 0800 800 620 to be transferred to the centre.

Background information about the strikes

While the national DHB office is doing everything they can to settle the agreement, each DHB still needs to prepare for a series of strikes. This means we are preparing for midwives at Puawai Aroha Maternity to strike for two 2-hour periods on each day 22 November through to the 6 December, and an additional day on 8 December.

The days and times of the strike action is as below:

  • 22 November: 20:01 – 22:01
  • 23 November: 09:01 – 11:01
  • 23 November: 21:01 – 23:01
  • 24 November: 10:01 – 12:01
  • 25 November: 05:01 – 07:01
  • 25 November: 11:01 – 13:01
  • 26 November: 10:01 – 12:01
  • 26 November: 19:01 – 21:01
  • 27 November: 11:01 – 13:01
  • 27 November: 20:01 - 22:01
  • 28 November: 12:01 - 14:01
  • 28 November: 21:01 – 23:01
  • 29 November: 09:01 - 11:01
  • 30 November: 10:01 – 12:01
  • 30 November: 19:01 – 21:01
  • 01 December: 13:01 - 15:01
  • 01 December: 20:01 - 22:01
  • 02 December: 10:01 - 12:01
  • 02 December: 20:01 - 22:01
  • 03 December: 12:01 - 14:01
  • 03 December: 19:01 - 21:01
  • 04 December: 13:01 - 15:01
  • 04 December: 20:01 - 22:01
  • 05 December: 10:01 - 12:01
  • 05 December: 21:01 - 23:01

(The times and dates of the strikes, as well as any additional information will be updated on this page as it becomes available - ).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. What happens if I need to go into hospital to give birth or have another procedure and the midwife is on strike?

If the hospital midwife caring for you is taking part in the two-hour strike during the time you are in hospital, if they have not already started to treat you, you may be cared for by another midwife. If they are already part way through a procedure that cannot be delayed they will continue to care for you. You’re lead maternity carer will still be available for your care, as they are not involved in the strike action.

2. How many midwives are going on strike?

Hauora Tairāwhiti employs 20 midwives, all of whom are members of MERAS and therefore will be entitled to take strike action.

3. How can you be sure that you will have enough midwives to care for me?

A contingency planning team has been meeting regularly since the first strike notice was issued by MERAS. All precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of mothers and their babies is maintained. We have agreed with the union for a number of midwives to be on site to provide care to women to keep them safe during the hours their colleagues are on strike.

4. My caesarean section is planned for that time; will it be cancelled?

Some elective C-sections times may change, as there may be some changes to the theatre schedule. If your C-section needs to be rescheduled due to the strike, both you and your Lead Maternity Carer will be notified. Any caesarean that is clinically urgent will not be delayed.

5. When exactly is the strike action?

The rolling stoppages are for two hours twice a day for two weeks from 22 November. The times will change each day. The first day is from 8pm to 10pm.

6. What is the DHB doing to prevent the strikes?

This strike affects all DHBs and negotiations are happening at a national level. We are keen to continue talking to the union and will continue trying to settle these negotiations. We expect mediation to help find a way forward and prevent industrial action.

 

Starting Wednesday 7 November, all DHBs were issued a series of strike notices by midwives’ union MERAS. This affects DHB-employed midwives but not LMC community midwives.

Liz Lee Taylor, Hauora Tairāwhiti Director of Midwifery, says “The safety of women and babies is the number one priority in the lead-up to and during the strikes.”

Puawai Aroha Maternity will remain open and operational during the strikes. At any time during the strikes there will be a midwife available,” Miss Liz Lee Taylor added.

Women should come to their scheduled appointment unless they have been contacted to say their appointment is being postponed. 

Women can also contact Liz Lee Taylor, Director of Midwifery at any time with questions: 027 811 6275. 

Background information about the strikes

While the national DHB office is doing everything they can to settle the agreement, each DHB still needs to prepare for a series of strikes. This means we are preparing for midwives at Puawai Aroha Maternity to strike for two 2-hour periods on each day 22 November through to the 6 December, and an additional day on  8 December.

The days and times below are kept updated and are current:

  • 22 November: 11:01 – 13:01
  • 22 November: 20:01 – 22:01
  • 23 November: 09:01 – 11:01
  • 23 November: 21:01 – 23:01
  • 24 November: 10:01 – 12:01
  • 25 November: 05:01 – 07:01
  • 25 November: 11:01 – 13:01
  • 26 November: 10:01 – 12:01
  • 26 November: 19:01 – 21:01
  • 27 November: 11:01 – 13:01
  • 27 November: 20:01 - 22:01
  • 28 November: 12:01 - 14:01
  • 28 November: 21:01 – 23:01
  • 29 November: 05:01 – 07:01
  • 29 November: 09:01- 11:01
  • 30 November: 10:01 – 12:01
  • 30 November: 19:01 – 21:01

(The times and dates of the strikes are updated as strike notices are received from MERAS Midwifery Union).

DHBs are preparing for more strike notices and expect the same twice-daily, two-hour pattern to be repeated for two weeks from 22 November.

FAQ

1.    What happens if I need to go into hospital to give birth or have another procedure and the midwife is on strike?

If the hospital midwife caring for you is taking part in the two hour strike during the time you are in hospital, if they have not already started to treat you, you may be cared for by another midwife. If they are already part way through a procedure that cannot be delayed they will continue to care for you.

 

2.    How many midwives are going on strike?

Hauora Tairāwhiti employs 20 midwives, all of whom are members of MERAS and therefore will be entitled to take strike action.

 

3.    How can you be sure that you will have enough midwives to care for me?

A contingency planning team has meeting regularly since strike notice was issued by MERAS. All precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of mothers and their babies in maintained. We have agreed with the union for a number of midwives to be on site to provide care to women to keep them safe during the hours their colleagues are on strike.

 

4.    My caesarean section is planned for that time, will it be cancelled?

Some elective C-sections times may change, as there may be some changes to the theatre schedule. If your C-section needs to be rescheduled due to the strike, both you and your LMC will be notified. Any caesarean that is clinically urgent will not be delayed.

 

5.    When exactly is the strike action?

The rolling stoppages are for two hours twice a day for two weeks from 22 November. The times will change each day. The first day is from 8pm to 10pm.

 

6.    What is the DHB doing to prevent the strikes?

This strike affects all DHBs and negotiations are happening at a national level. We are keen to continue talking to the union and will continue trying to settle these negotiations. We expect mediation to help find a way forward and prevent industrial action.