Nurses strike against low pay, burnout, in New Zealand

Thousands of nurses in the country have been demanding a 17% pay hike, which the government says it cannot afford

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It is not just in India that nurses and doctors are fighting for better remuneration and working conditions. New Zealand witnessed around 30,000 nurses staging an eight-hour long strike demanding pay hikes and better working conditions. Thousands of them took to the streets and gathered outside hospitals and in parks with placards stating their demands.

Recently, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) refused a 1.4 per cent increment in pay, which was proposed by the District Health Board. Instead, the nurses are demanding a 17 per cent hike, which the government says it cannot afford.

The government is already being criticised for not controlling rising inequality even though the economy seems to be on the path to recovery, and that too at a better pace than expected.

Thousands of nurses marched onto the streets holding placards, while others gathered at parks and outside hospitals around the country in protest.

With the pandemic, nurses have been complaining of burnout and deteriorating working conditions. They feel they are grossly underpaid. The pay is so low that not many want to join the profession and hospitals are finding it difficult to retain nurses. This has increased the burden of work on the existing staff and has put the lives of patients in danger, according to NZNO.

Due to the protests, outpatient clinics and surgeries had to be cancelled.

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