Nurses feel lied to after promising back pay excluded from equity offer
Michelle May put on her uniform for eight years. For her, nursing isn’t just a job, it’s her life.
“It’s definitely a passion. It’s something I’ve worked hard for. I’ve spent many years training, it’s about taking care of others,” May said.
But it’s a profession she’s lost faith in, especially after the industry’s latest pay equity offer.
“Overall the feelings are of real frustration,” May says. “We feel like we’ve been lied to.”
Because it’s not what they expected.
One of the terms of an earlier deal was that any new pay scales would be backdated to the end of 2019.
It was dropped.
Instead, recognition of pro-rated payment for prior work is offered, capped at $10,000.
An Auckland nurse who Newshub spoke to says she should be owed around five times as much if backdated in full.
Calculating full pay for individual nurses was deemed too complicated and would have delayed new pay rates by two to three years.
“Trying to get the rates of pay right now seemed like a better beneficial outcome going forward, but of course it meant that the back pay issue that members are talking about now has been compromised in terms of the total amount that ‘they expected to get,’ says Glenda Alexander, head of industry services at the New Zealand Nurses Organization.
She says the offer includes significant pay equity increases affecting 40,000 people.
“Nursing work has in fact been shown to have been undervalued for many years and now these new pay rates actually reflect other male-dominated professions that are paid more or have been paid more than nurses until now. now,” Alexander said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for all DHB says the proposed settlement is an important step towards a historic agreement, it includes lump sum payments and wage increases to achieve pay equity.
But thousands of people still want him fully reimbursed, signing this petition created by May.
“I think most nurses would be more than happy to wait to get what’s owed to us, especially when it’s such a large amount,” May says.
Nurses will have the opportunity to vote on the draft agreement from April 20.