Kia ora koutou members,
As you are no doubt aware the College has been working for many years to address concerns related to pay and working conditions for LMC midwives, as well as working closely with MERAS to support the progression of its pay equity claim for employed midwives, and MECA negotiations. Although there has been some progress, there is still more to be done.
The purpose of this email is to notify you that after careful consideration, the College’s national board has determined that it will pursue further legal action against the Ministry of Health for breach of the second settlement agreement. There are two main reasons why the College’s board has taken this decision:
- The current Section 88 is a legislative document, and although the College has a level of influence on its terms and conditions, we do not ‘sign off’ on the final version; this right is reserved for the Ministry of Health and Minister. Simply increasing payments in Section 88 does not address the core issue. The settlement agreement promised a new contract model by July 2020, which would ensure sustainable practice models for LMC midwives, and this has not materialised.
- As a result of the health system reforms, there is uncertainty about future arrangements for community LMC midwives. In order to have any influence over our future, we need to use all of the tools in our kete, and enforcing the terms of the legally binding settlement agreement between the College and the Ministry is one of these.
The College has sought extensive legal advice to inform the best approach. Enforcing the contractual promises made the Ministry in the settlement agreement is legally straightforward. The terms of the settlement agreement are clear; the Ministry committed to delivering a new national midwifery contract by July 2020, reflecting a blended payment model, alongside determining ‘fair and reasonable’ pay for LMC midwives. This is the most expedient route, which the College will be pursuing. We will be keeping members informed as the process progresses. Please contact your chairperson or the national office if you are require further information.
New Zealand College of Midwives|Te Kāreti o ngā Kaiwhakawhānau ki Aotearoa