How is it October already?
Kia ora everyone, and thanks for taking the time to read our update. Some of the feedback we’ve received from members recently is that you’d like more frequent communication and hear more about what STONZ, and the team have been up to. The executive team going forward are going to write a short ‘Blog’ each month and post on our website, this will be in addition to our quarterly newsletter (next one coming soon!).
So, what have we been up to?
The last couple of months have been incredibly busy; we had 2-days of negotiations in September with Te Whatu Ora to work through how the change to the one employer model impacts clauses in the collective agreement and those conversations are ongoing. Our aim? To ensure that RMOs are not disadvantaged by the change to one employer, but also the changes being made to ‘regions & localities'.
As affiliates of the CTU (Council of Trade Unions), we have also been involved in negotiations for the past 3+ months advocating for government to recognise the incredible mahi done by our public sector over the past couple of years, and for the PSC (Public Services Commission), to drop the pay restraint guidelines and give workers the pay increases that we deserve. This has been referenced in previous communications as the PSPA (Public Service Pay adjustment). The conversations have been lengthy, and Union members have waited patiently while talks have continued. CTU and affiliated unions are now calling on the political leadership from Ministers to recognise the COVID contribution members have made, and the significant stress cost of living increases have caused. We have finally received some positive engagement from officials, and STONZ along will other CTU affiliates have now signed up to start formally discussing possible options for our members. The intention of the PSPA is to group all unions in the public sector together to ensure all work groups are well paid and reinstate the "team" approach to the healthcare, education etc. Our aim is to negotiate a pay adjustment in line with one another to help keep up with cost of living. If successful, this would result in a remuneration increase and help to reduce the need for the rolling, staggered industrial action across the many unions which we believe is adding to the healthcare system challenges, and contributes to many patients not receiving care. Whilst we have committed to initial negotiations, we are not obliged to accept any offer unless it is of benefit to our union members. We will continue to keep members updated throughout the process, and if we are successful this would have to follow the normal negotiation parameters including putting any changes to members for a vote.
In addition to that, our team also met with Minister of Health, Andrew Little to discuss the challenges facing the RMO workforce, and we are also strongly advocating for the new engagement forums being set up as part of Te Whatu Ora to include strong representation from RMOs. At a national level, we are also advocating that the overseas RMO specific recruitment campaignbe re-instated to help support the predicted vacancies for next year. We recently had a great 2-days in Ōtautahi for our annual Delegate training, where we covered topics from ‘the ethics of striking in healthcare, RMO meals, the use of Te Reo Māori within unions, RMO Remuneration and much more’! We also had a great session with Rob Campbell, Chair of Te Whatu Ora and an interesting and inspiring talk from Erin Baker, one of the best female triathletes of all time, winning a total of 104 of the 121 races she entered.
Our support team have also been incredibly busy supporting over 200 members with individual queries and issues during September alone, as well as working with individual services and departments where we have had concerns raised to help work towards local solutions.
And to round off for this month, thank you again, our members for your continued support and mahi!
Christina Matthews, STONZ President