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Comrade Simon supports Nurses Strike

Written By: - Date published: 3:52 pm, May 28th, 2018 - 21 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, national, Simon Bridges, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

The times are really a changing.

National leader Simon Bridges has tacked significantly left and supported strike action by New Zealand workers.

Yep you read that right.

I will repeat this just so you can get the full sense of how radical this.

National leader Simon Bridges has tacked significantly left and supported strike action by New Zealand workers.

Put to one side blame for the current situation, but anyone with any understanding of the history will conclude that nine long years of National’s cost cutting approach to everything is the cause of nurses being hopelessly underpaid.

But this is big news. Simon Bridges supports the rights of workers to strike.

Here is the proof. From Newshub:

National Party leader Simon Bridges says he supports the upcoming nationwide nurses’ strike – the first since 1989.

Nurses have rejected a 2 percent pay rise offer from the DHBs, voting overwhelmingly for two days of industrial action – July 5 and 12.

An independent panel recommended the country’s 27,000 nurses get a $2000 lump sum payment and a 3 percent pay rise on June 1, followed by another 3 percent rise in August, and another in August 2019.

Mr Bridges says it’s the Government’s own fault nurses will walk off the job – and they have his support.

“The Government in opposition – and in Government, actually – have really ratcheted up expectations. You can understand why the nurses feel this way, feel so strongly about it.”

Yep wherever I go there are nurses saying “Damn Labour Government for ratcheting up expectations, lets go on strike” rather than “nine long years without a significant wage increase lets go on strike”.

But it is good to see that Bridges is now on the side of the ordinary worker.

I wonder how his party and its rich backers feel?

21 comments on “Comrade Simon supports Nurses Strike”

  1. Kat 1

    Don’t get your hopes up Micky there is bound to be a twist to his “reported” support. And whatever it is it will be at the coalition govt’s expense and the nurses.

    • John up North 1.1

      The ongoing push by both the previous government and the MSM…………..
      “you’re the government now, fix it!”

      With neither of them wanting to dig into the why’s and how we got to this point, straight out of the “we’re the party of sound economic management” RW playbook.

      Privatise the profit, socialise the cost

  2. dukeofurl 2

    Why didnt they have a wage claim before this ?

    Oh yes they did
    ‘https://www.nzno.org.nz/about_us/media_releases/articletype/articleview/articleid/654/unions-reach-pay-settlement-with-dhbs

    “The NToS includes a two percent pay increase, new processes for resolving issues and an agreement that DHBs will work positively with unions

    No date on that . But very strange

    • tracey 2.1

      Amazing that Bridges became leader given he spent years arguing against many of tge health and education policies of his colleagues.

      Who decided Collins should be given as a Leader option in the latest poll?

  3. Bill 3

    Couldn’t give a toss about Bridge’s opportunism/cynicism/stupidity.

    Couldn’t give a toss for laying the blame on nurses pay levels at “this” door, “that” door or “whatever” door.

    I do give a toss that nurses feel they have no option but to strike. And I support them 100%.

    • halfcrown 3.1

      Good comment Bill But why did they not strike when National was the government
      I agree with you about needing more money as I feel it is a thankless task, and if we look around there are other sectors doing thankless task’s that are in need of a huge lift in their money
      But I suspect there is a fifth column somewhere stirring the shit for this administration, suggesting strike action and no bridges Bridges confirmed that by supporting them.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        Why didn’t they strike when NZ had a National Party led government?

        Ask a nurse.

        I suspect there comes a point when people are at the end of their tether; when a final straw gets laid on that old “camel’s back”…

        Nothing to do with “fifth columns” or anything else of the sort.

        Things declined, and then they got worse. After that, they didn’t get any better, and the prospect of them getting better on the “by and by”….well, you still waiting or hanging on for that one?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1

          Why didn’t they strike? Perhaps because they know that the National Party’s agenda is to smash public health and privatise the profits. Strike action could easily have furthered that agenda and resulted in mass job losses and further human rights abuse.

      • Pat 3.1.2

        I expect they feel they have a more realistic hope of achieving a degree of success with this admin that was unlikely with the previous….a realistic expectation given the history of both parties…the last genuine attempt to address the wage issue for nurses was under the Clark Gov. in 2005/6

  4. Pat 4

    the question I have yet to see answered (or even asked) is how the parity (approximately) of pay that was in place a decade or so ago between teachers and nurses was so drastically undone.

    • In Vino 4.1

      Excuse me, Pat. Teachers are also way behind in the parity race. Secondary teachers’ top pay scale rate back in the 1960s was equivalent to backbencher MP.
      In the late 80s, nurses’ union got splintered among various regional DHBs negotiating wages at different times so that they could not campaign as one unit.
      Teachers’ unions were about the only unions that stuck together, fought hard, and retained the right to argue nationally. Hence the hatred of Right-Wingers for Teacher Unions.
      The nurses simply fell behind more quickly. But the teachers also fell too far behind. MPs have a beneficent Higher Salaries Commission, who award them backdated, generous increases. Teachers no longer get anything backdated – they have to accept 2 or 3% over so many years, where at least 1% inflation per annum wears down the imagined percentage the media said they were getting.
      I suggest we all nominate the Higher Salaries Commission to negotiate for all of us…
      And I suggest that the nurses strike like hell until they get a decent one-off percentage increase backdated to the end of their last contract which expired in 2017. Justice much?

      Accepting dribble-payments over periods of time simply puts you down on the parity ladder. But Employer bodies love to pretend that they are making generous offers.

      As an aside. I think the PPTA (Secondary Teachers) were all set to fight hard for a real catch-up pay increase in 2011. But the Christchurch earthquakes happened, which made things impossible. It all had to be delayed.

      This current government is going to have to borrow more than currently projected, or lose some of its important friends. Nurses’ and teachers’ pay rates are a serious issue, and I don’t see that the budget has allowed for it.

      • Pat 4.1.1

        You’re excused In Vino….I didnt refer to the teacher MP salary ratio although I suspect it is more a case of the higher salaries commission continuing to apply an inflation adjustment that the overwhelming majority of wage and salary workers dont enjoy …I refered to the nurse/teacher parity that was achieved around a decade or so ago, the last time the salaries of both had to be addressed due to the problem of attracting staff due to being outstripped by private sector wages….what happened that meant an 11% gap opened up?

        • Gabby 4.1.1.1

          Inflation adjustment supplemented by the old faithful private sector equivalence chunk o’ gravy.

          • Pat 4.1.1.1.1

            lol…surely not!

            • In Vino 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, I seem to remember reading a day or 2 ago that CEOs’ pay had risen by 8% over the last year. Funnily enough, even without the benign help of the Higher Salaries Commission, here is another group that seems to do better than those who have to do long, tedious, stalled negotiations with a bunch of bosses who earn their own bonuses by diminishing the working conditions of those unfortunate enough to have to work under them.
              Great system, huh?

  5. AB 5

    All makes perfect sense from Simon’s viewpoint:
    If you never promise to treat people better, you can treat them like sh*t forever.
    Once people have an inkling that anything better might be possible, they get harder to control.

    This pattern of thinking is familiar from the collapse of the East European communist dictatorships last century. The ones that allowed any loosening of repression or flowering of human rights collapsed quickest, because they allowed a small opening for hope to take root.

  6. Incognito 6

    Wedge politics?

    Bridges knows full well that the DHBs are under financial pressure and if shit hits the fan (or seeps through the wall) he’ll point the finger to the current rather than the previous three Governments. He also knows that the Government does not set the salaries paid by DHBs.

  7. Adrian 7

    Meanwhile the largest bunch of responsibility dodging, tax avoiding whinging benes are about to suck up the complete ” rainy day fund ” for a bunch of dead cows that they have greedily deliberately or inadvertently created themselves.
    Is it true that most farmers, pay less total personal tax than all other beneficiaries?.
    How can this be?. All benes and low wagers pay GST and various Govt charges such as rego and fuel tax etc, and assorted other personal costs that can have a dual purpose.
    Most farmers, thanks to creative accountants, don’t . I know of of a lot that don’ t because I’m a farmer and we make sure we pay our share to the point of finding a strict accountant.
    Why is the compo payout being held up? Because some of these arseholes have been claiming Gold Coast holidays etc, as an ” associated cost “.
    So no sympathy there then.

  8. patricia bremner 8

    Adrian, perhaps they should make it like the winter payment, if you are out of the country for four weeks, you don’t get the payment.

    • Adrian 8.1

      Certainly Patricia though I favour only paying out to those farmers and companies that bank their returns in NZ.
      There is a large percentage that don’t , they extract large ” management fees ” , i.e. the majority of the profit leaving the NZ entity in a loss situation and I would bet that that is the majority of the Rabobank owned ones.

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