Nurses and midwives in Northland have described the government's revised pay offer that includes provision to hire more staff as "a start".
The offer was ratified by the Ministry of Health, district health board and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) on Tuesday after months of negotiation and rallies throughout the country.
Nurses and midwives will see their pay go up by at least 9.5 per cent by August next year while $38 million of new funding will be provided to allow district health boards to hire extra staff.
NZNO has about 1200 members in Northland.
Nurses began negotiations a year ago and had rejected three earlier offers. Two weeks ago, NZNO entered into urgent facilitation through the Employment Relations Authority to try to reach an agreement before the strikes, the first of which was to take place last week Thursday.
Julie Governor, NZNO organiser for Northland, said a lot of work was needed to get pay parity with that of teachers and other professions in the government sector.
"Our members are resigned to the fact that while what's being offered is not going to resolve the issue, it's nonetheless a start. They'll make us and the DHB accountable to make sure we deliver on what's being agreed upon."
The settlement will put 500 more nurses in our hospitals but Governor said without knowing where they would be posted, it was difficult to say what impact they would have on Northland District Health Board's services.
But like a pay increase, she said 500 new nurses was a start and would be gratefully absorbed into the workforce in Northland.
Prior to the latest pay offer, Governor said 12 new nurses to work in acute areas of the Whangarei and Bay of Islands' hospitals had been approved and that they were currently being recruited.
Those employed under the collective agreement would receive a one off lump sum payment of $2000.
Nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and hospital aides on the top tier of each category were also given a further 3 per cent pay rise from May 2019 boosting their total increase to at least 12.5 per cent.
By August 5, 2019, new graduate registered nurses and midwives would start on an annual base salary of $54,000, up from the current $49,500. Top tier registered nurses and midwives would be able to earn $77,386 by August, 2020.
Designated senior nurses and midwives would start on $79,760 by August next year and could earn up to $130,653.