Vote no to sellout of New Zealand nurses! Build rank-and-file committees!
the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand)
7 June 2018
The struggle of New Zealand hospital workers for decent wages and conditions is at a crossroads. This week and next, 27,000 public hospital nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants are voting on an offer from District Health Boards (DHBs) to increase pay by 9 percent over two years and slightly raise staffing levels.
The offer was made in a desperate attempt to avoid a strike, for which nurses voted last month after rejecting two previous pay offers of 2 percent presented by DHBs and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO).
The revised deal is falsely portrayed as a generous offer by the Labour Party government and corporate media. In fact, it does not make up for a decade-long effective wage freeze and is grossly inadequate given the scale of the crisis facing public hospital staff.
The Socialist Equality Group (SEG) calls on health workers to decisively reject this sellout, organise independently of the union bureaucracy and prepare for a nationwide strike. The SEG warns that the two 24-hour strikes foreshadowed by the NZNO for July are deliberately limited in scope and designed only to let off steam.
Workers’ demands cannot be constrained by what the government and ruling elite deem “affordable.” Appeals must be made to other sections of the working class in New Zealand and internationally to combine their strength in a political and industrial campaign for the basic social right of all people to high-quality, free health care—provided by the necessary number of well-paid doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
The nurses’ fight is part of a global upsurge of the class struggle, including strikes by teachers in the…