In the aftermath of a member giving the media my last email to you all there has been a flurry of media reporting and I subsequently need to correct a few issues reported incorrectly. Can I urge you to contact the College or MERAS if you want more information rather than going through the media as they invariably mix up the LMC and DHB pay negotiations resulting in the spreading of misinformation and causing midwives unnecessary concern.
As I reported to you at the end of the year the College has met in a mediation with the Ministry of Health and has agreed to a process to fix the outstanding pay equity issues under a new funding agreement outside Section 88. As explained at Xmas, once the government has read the proposed new funding agreement process we will send you out a public statement with those details. It was not a settlement on funding as we can’t guarantee specific amounts as this must be first agreed with the government caucus and allocated in next year’s budget. As you know, and we are all are frustrated by, we have to wait for the May/June budget bid process to get funding into the existing Section 88 while we go through the process of reaching a new funding agreement; a co-designed contracting and funding process which has a 2020/21 total end date. You will be consulted and informed further as we go through that process of course.
On the other hand MERAS and the DHBs have agreed to urgent facilitation in the Employment Relations Authority for hospital midwives. This is a process whereby the Authority Member makes a non-binding recommendation, an outcome of which could be a proposed settlement to take out to MERAS members for a ratification vote, or further mediation. Nothing has been settled at this stage. As you know there is still strike action planned in February if these legal processes do not reach a satisfactory conclusion. MERAS will continue to consult and keep all its members informed of their progress.