Te Whatu Ora bargaining 2024

We're getting ready to negotiate the Te Whatu Ora / NZNO Collective Agreement in 2024. 

We need safe staffing in health care.

We need pay and conditions that value nurses, midwives and HCAs.

Download our poster "We're ready to keep fighting for safe staffing in 2024"


November 2023 union meetings and launching our bargaining campaign

38 paid union meetings for Te Whatu Ora members were held right across Aotearoa in the week of 27 November-1 December.

In the meetings Te Whatu Ora nurses, midwives and HCAs came together to:

  • Tell the new government we expect them to deliver on fixing the nursing shortage crisis
  • Understand how we will continue the fight for safe staffing in 2024 including the role of ratios
  • Launch our 2024 Te Whatu Ora bargaining campaign

Media coverage of the meetings

Nurses begin fresh round of campaigning over pay and conditions
RNZ, Newstalk ZB, Newshub, Otago Daily Times, 1 News, New Zealand Herald, PMN, Northern Advocate, 27 November 2023

Nurses to campaign over pay and conditions
RNZ Audio, 27 November 2023

Aim is to put pressure on Te Whatu Ora and the new government
RNZ, 27 November 2023


Staffing ratios

Resolving the issue of insufficient staffing levels came through as the key outstanding issue following the ratification of the Te Whatu Ora Collective 2022/23. Members have been saying loud and clear that this needs to be a priority in the renewal of the collective agreement in 2024.

The longstanding problems of staffing have failed to be remedied by actions to date.  In particular, while the implementation of CCDM has worked in some areas, there are still many areas where it either cannot be implemented or has not been implemented. This has placed Te Whatu Ora nurses, midwives and HCAs in dangerous situations due to lack of staff and time to do the job properly. 

Overseas jurisdictions such as Queensland, Victoria, California, Ireland and British Columbia are addressing the problem of poor and dangerous staffing with the introduction of enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios.  The research is clear, these ratios result in better health and safety and job satisfaction outcomes for members and better patient outcomes.                                                                                                                                                                           

We are exploring staffing ratios that will act as a ‘safety net’, below which staffing and skill mix cannot fall, while CCDM will provide detailed staffing and skill mix which can sit above those ratios. This model is very similar to the Queensland model which is simply minimum enforceable ratios and above those ratios, flexible standards informed by CCDM. This approach keeps what works about CCDM and adds a ‘safety net’ for those areas where staffing is inadequate, or where CCDM is not implemented. This approach is broader than CCDM, covering all areas of practice. In addition, cultural requirements of Māori as patients or nurses will be taken into account in the ratios NZNO takes into bargaining next year.

Over the coming months we will develop and fine tune the ratios claim we will take into bargaining, adding a New Zealand context to what we’ve seen work internationally. There will be many opportunities for member involvement in the development of ‘Ratio Justice’.


Enforcing our rights

Te Whatu Ora has made commitments to safe staffing in our collective agreement and has obligations to keep members safe under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Our collective agreement includes an escalation pathway intended to alleviate acute staffing shortages, which requires direct support from Te Whatu Ora senior management and must include members and delegates. In 2021 Te Whatu Ora agreed to immediately establish and recruit to new positions recommended in annual FTE calculations. We now have another staffing clause which allows us to negotiate staffing levels even where CCDM cannot be implemented.

Over the last year we’ve increased enforcement of our rights, with health and safety reps, supported by members, issuing PIN notices, and even members taking our first ever Health and Safety strike in Tairawhiti.

Next year, alongside member action, we will increase enforcement of our rights.

We are putting Te Whatu Ora on notice – they have made commitments to us, they have obligations in law to provide a safe workplace, we will hold Te Whatu Ora to those commitments and obligations.


Bargaining timeline for the Te Whatu Ora / NZNO Collective Agreement

This timeline is indicative and may change.

Nov 2023

Meetings to launch 2024 bargaining campaign

Feb 2024

Bargaining team established

March/April 2024

Claims meetings

May/June 2024

Member campaign actions focused on safe staffing

July 2024

Meetings to endorse claims for bargaining

30 August 2024

Initiate for bargaining (earliest possible date)

September 2024

Bargaining dates with Te Whatu Ora

September 2024

Potential escalating member campaign actions

31 October 2024

Current CA expires