Source: Evolution Healthcare
Evolution Healthcare is preparing for a 24-hour strike next Thursday 1 December at Wakefield and Bowen Hospitals in Wellington and Royston Hospital in Hastings
Chief Executive Officer Sue Channon is disappointed and frustrated by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) as it refused to withdraw strike action even with Evolution advising of a new three-year proposal and were misrepresenting Evolution Healthcare’s position.
Sue Channon advised “Our current offer would have given our nurses median pay rises of 15% over two years, plus increased allowances, education, and leave entitlements.
“If our NZNO delegates had accepted this offer, they would have been amongst the best-paid nurses in the country. Their pay increases would have been immediate, it would have been more than their public sector colleagues, and in the top band of the private healthcare sector across Aotearoa.
“The NZNO did not accept this offer and went to strike for 24-hours on Thursday 20 October. Since the October strike we wanted to discuss extending the offer to include a third year and provide additional benefits including a further percentage increase in keeping with others in the sector, plus an agreement to lift all pay rates by the March 2023 CPI figure and increases to other allowances.
“To say that our two-year offer does not address the cost of living is complete nonsense, but we can’t negotiate in a vacuum. We want to meet the NZNO to bargain in a constructive way around our three-year proposal, not under the threat of strike action,” says Ms Channon.
Evolution’s latest three-year offer to the NZNO would see many nurses in Wakefield, Bowen, and Royston hospitals receive pay increases between 20 – 30%.
“We’ve offered the union several meetings, agreed to their requests for rescheduling, and rather than come to the table and negotiate in a positive way, its response has been to issue a strike notice – that’s hardly professional or responsible.”
Ms Channon says Evolution is doing what it can to prevent a strike and will meet the union to try and find a solution but is now being forced to rescheduled about 80 elective procedures across the three hospitals.
“Evolution stands for providing exceptional private healthcare to the people in our care. We are frustrated that patients who were booked to have their surgeries at our three hospitals are deferred, right before Christmas too.
“We’re saddened by this action – it’s totally unnecessary when our Group has repeatedly demonstrated how much it values the dedication and professionalism of our nurses. They’re an important part of our healthcare team, but the unions behaviour in negotiations defies belief.
“The union talking about the living wage is a fabrication and designed to inflame the situation. Most of our nurses are at the top of their pay scale.
“Private hospitals are an integral part of Aotearoa’s healthcare system. Two thirds of elective surgery in New Zealand are performed in private facilities and Evolution Healthcare performs more than 50,000 of these procedures per year across our portfolio of facilities.
“With the significant waitlists for elective surgeries across the country, we are doing all we can to minimise the disruption to our patients and their booked surgeries,” says Ms Channon.