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Working towards a national hospice collective agreement.

NZNO has undertaken an analysis of hospice collective agreements and believes there are significant advantages in working towards a national hospice multi-employer collective agreement (MECA). Moving to a national hospice MECA would provide NZNO with a vehicle to:

* deliver fair pay to hospice members;

* achieve nationally consistent pay and conditions in the hospice sector;

* increase opportunities for professional development;

* gain greater industrial strength.

In a bulletin to NZNO hospice members, NZNO industrial adviser Cee Payne-Harker said a project team of NZNO staff had been set up to develop a plan to bring hospice collective agreements (CAs) together in 2005, if that was supported by members.

To begin national bargaining, the expiry dates of all existing hospice CAs would have to be within 120 days of each other. This would then enable NZNO to conduct a ballot of members for a MECA. If members want to join a national hospice MECA, any negotiations over the next year will have to result in a CA that expires within 120 days of July 25, 2005.

NZNO members who work in hospices would determine the way forward for this project, Payne-Harker said. Individual hospice workplaces could only join a national MECA if the majority of members in each workplace voted to do this. Payne-Harker pointed out that if all members joined together, more than 500 NZNO hospice members could be represented in one MECA.

Forging new relationship

Earlier in the year, Payne-Harker and NZNO organiser Shane Vugler met Hospice New Zealand (NZ) chief executive Anne Martin and a number of board members with the aim of forging a new relationship with Hospice NZ. The NZNO representatives also informed Hospice NZ of NZNO's goal of establishing a national hospice MECA and explored the possibility of Hospice NZ co-ordinating multi-employer bargaining. Since that meeting, Hospice NZ had informed NZNO informally that it does not view coordination of bargaining as part of its governance role.

NZNO is also doing a range of other work to assist the MECA process. A database comparing all current pay rates, shift allowances, overtime/public holiday payments and leave entitlements across current hospice CAs is being compiled. Payne-Harker said the goal of a hospice MECA would be to establish pay and conditions consistent with any national DHB nurses' and midwives' MECA.

A government-established working party on hospice funding was to make recommendations to the Minister of Health by late last month.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sector Reports
Author:O'Connor, Teresa
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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Next Article:Caregivers address the health select committee.

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