For approximately an hour last Thursday morning, visitors coming into Dargaville were greeted by nursing staff who joined the nationwide strike protesting for better working conditions.
The nurses walked from the hospital on Awakino Road to the Jervois Street/Normanby Street intersection, where they held placards and flags, inviting passing motorists to ‘toot’ in support.
“Lots were rostered to work, but came out here instead,” said registered nurse Barbara Drake.
“Some have stayed behind to work in the life-preserving area. This isn’t just about the money, but about safe staffing levels. We need more staff numbers.”
Waipoua resident, Liam Kiely, travelled to Dargaville to support the nurses. “Most people know someone needing hospital care, and nurses supply a vital role in the community. I’ve spoken to the nurses, and they just want to resources to provide safe care for their patients,” he said.
The protest was a part of the nationwide strike voted on by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation after rejecting the latest district health board offer.
That deal raised the job’s base salary and pay increases to occur annually, with promotions into management increasing the rate further. It also offered an extra 500 nursing staff.
The strike ended at 7am Friday.