MERAS, the midwives’ union, says their member midwives have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a final pay equity settlement from Te Whatu Ora.
Last month the union, which represents more than 90% of Te Whatu Ora employed midwives, announced it had received an offer from Te Whatu Ora which was then presented to members. Voting closed today at noon.
“This is a very positive result. It’s been five years since the pay equity process, to address historical sex-based undervaluation, commenced for hospital employed midwives,” says MERAS spokesperson Caroline Conroy.
The settlement agreed today includes an additional lump sum of $15,000 pro-rated for those employed during 1st January 2020 to 3rd April 2023, and increases on the hourly rate which will be back dated to 4th April 2022. An interim payment was ratified at the end of June and those payments have been made to midwives.
The outcome of the pay equity process will now become part of the Collective agreement negotiations with Te Whatu Ora.
Ms Conroy says a separate pay equity claim has been made for midwives employed in non-Te Whatu Ora maternity units and hopes it will not be a long and drawn-out process because the midwives working in those units are now being paid considerably less than their colleagues within Te Whatu Ora and this creates some vulnerability for the ongoing provision of those services until their claim is settled.
“We all want the best for our midwives and of course the thousands of women and babies who use the maternity service in Aotearoa New Zealand. The pay equity outcome goes some way to recognise and value the work that employed midwives do and the expertise they bring to their role but this now needs to follow through to those midwives employed in maternity units outside of Te Whatu Ora with some urgency,” she says.