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'Hospital midwives settle with DHBs'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Hospital midwives who are members of the Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Services (MERAS), have settled their Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) with the country’s DHBs.

The MECA expired on 31 January this year and MERAS midwives had wanted a new MECA in place well before that. However that didn’t happen and MERAS has been negotiating since the strike action planned for 17 August was withdrawn due to Covid. MERAS Co-Leader (Industrial), Jill Ovens, says it is a relief to have reached agreement because it means we can concentrate on settling the pay equity claim for DHB-employed midwives.

"Part of the settlement for the MECA negotiations was a commitment by the DHBs to getting started on the Midwifery Pay Equity claim, which had been on hold for months. We were concerned that the Midwifery claim would have to wait till after the Nurses’ claim was settled. As it is, we start negotiations for the Midwifery claim on 7th October."

Ms Ovens says an increase of $5800 on midwives’ salary rates includes a $4000 "down payment" on the pay equity settlement that will result in new salary rates now, with more to come when the pay equity negotiations have been concluded. There is a $6000 pro-rated lump sum, also from the pay equity, payable on ratification of the MECA. The DHBs have also agreed to a $600 lump sum payment, pro-rated for part-timers and casuals who were MERAS members as of 1 September 2021.

"All MERAS members covered by the MECA will get an increase backdated to August 2. We are confident that that the pay equity process (which will hopefully be concluded before Christmas) will result in a new salary scale for midwives with a significant pay increase," she says.

MERAS members were presented with the offer in early September and the voting closed today [17 September] resulting in the formal announcement today.

Jill Ovens and colleague MERAS Co-leader Caroline Conroy say they are pleased for the MERAS members that they can now move forward to the next step in recognising the hard work, knowledge, responsibility and value of employed midwives all over the country.

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