What is 18in18?

This represents the demand for an 18% increase in 2018 for health workers covered by the NZNO DHB MECA.

The NZNO DHB MECA stands for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation District Health Board Multi-Employer Collective Agreement. What a mouth full.

NZNO is often called the nurses’ union – but this union also supports Health Care Assistants and Midwives.

The DHB MECA is the contract / collective agreement that covers most nurses, Health Care Assistants and midwives working in DHBs – which includes all the main hospitals. This is over 27,000 people. It is a large contract.

An 18% wage increase will cover all these workers.

Check HERE if you are looking for detailed information about how this figure of 18% came about. Otherwise – just remember that an 18% increase will mean that

– All workers covered by this agreement get a living wage, and

– All workers receive increases in line with the recent pay-equity settlement in aged-care

Who cares about one contract in just the hospitals?

The NZNO DHB MECA is the largest health sector collective agreement with over 27,000 members. Therefore, it is the benchmark for pay and conditions with many health and public sector worker groups. It sets the bar. It is the benchmark.

Significant pay gains in this collective agreement could pave the way for other health groups to aim for similar increases – not just with HCAs, Nurses and Midwives working in different non-DHB roles, but also other professional groups across the health sector and beyond who have consistently been undervalued.

The outcome of this process is therefore very important.

Why 18 in 18?

18 in 18 is memorable, it has a rationale and it is a figure. We will explain more.

Current negotiation strategies by major health sector unions (such as NZNO or PSA) utilise an approach called interest-based bargaining. This approach to negotiation means that negotiators highlight key issues to discuss and resolve rather than start from a set of opposing positions. For example – imagine buying a car – both you the buyer and the car salesperson have a shared interest in buying/selling a car. You want a car and the salesperson wants to sell a car – you agree on that first. The process from there is to resolve the negotiation so both parties “win”.

This is contrasted with a more ‘traditional’ form of negotiation or bargaining called position-based bargaining. To continue the example of buying/selling a car – with position-based bargaining both you the buyer and the car salesperson start from a position or demand. You want to pay $9000 but the car salesperson wants to sell it for $10,000. Each party has stated a ‘position’ – the goal then is to not just get a car, but to buy/sell a car at a particular price. Potentially both parties may ‘lose’ by not coming to an agreement.

Whether one method is right, better or more productive is not the point for HSWN. The key point is that there has been no figure imagined in the current NZNO DHB MECA negotiations. There is no goal for members to aspire too. An over reliance on interest-based bargaining has confused expectations and dampened aspiration. For example – in the above example with buying a car and when using interest-based bargaining, there is an assumption that a buyer will know what they can pay or what a ‘fair deal’ is. Imagine going to a car salesperson, using an interest-based bargaining approach and not knowing what you could pay or what average prices are? Would you trust the result?

In order to counter this problem a figure was proposed. 18 in 18 is about building expectations and aspirations so health workers can win.

Health workers should expect to be valued.  Lets not settle for less.

Sign up and offer to help

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Do you want to help organise with HSWN?