Demonstration in support of nurses

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Children, adults and nurses not affected by pay negotiations were among those who took to the main street of Alexandra last Thursday.

People demonstrating along Tarbert St about noon were holding signs calling for motorists to toot in support of better health.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) delegate Michelle Shaw, a nurse at Dunstan Hospital in Clyde, said the group was taking a stand in support of fellow nursing staff, particularly in the bigger centres.

“Our collective agreement is settled in Dunstan,” she said.

“We are just here to support our colleagues in the national centres.

“We want safe staffing for our colleagues in the Meca,” she said.

The Meca is a multi-employer collective agreement.

Strike action took place across the country last Thursday after the NZNO, which represents 46,000 medical staff, rejected the latest pay offer from their district health board (DHB) employers.

Nurses, midwives and health assistants walked off the job at 7am to protest for better pay rates and working conditions, and assurances staff shortages would be addressed.

Last week’s strike was only the second to be held nationally – the first was 30 years ago.

DHB spokeswoman Helen Mason said there was a tremendous effort by many people and contingency arrangements worked as planned.