Workplace Representation

Advice and representation readily available. The society has an extensive experience delivering representation, solutions and advice for employment, professional and related matters.

Effective support and solutions

We provide a full range of workplace representation, employment law and bargaining services, including reviewing and vetting employment agreements and other contracts, negotiating agreements and representing members with all types of workplace issues.

This includes representation for workplace, disciplinary processes and employment problems including disciplinary interviews, negotiated settlements, restructures and redundancies, plus personal grievance matters. We are highly skilled at solving problems informally, without being unduly adversarial, and where possible at the operational level.

Management of workplace disciplinary processes sometimes overlaps with professional disciplinary, regulatory and medico-legal matters.   

Members seeking assistance and representation for workplace disciplinary and employment law matters must contact us as soon as the matter arises and/or without undue delay.  Some conditions apply in relation to this.  

Types of Employment Agreements 

We handle both individual and collective employment agreements. Some of our workplace representation is undertaken through our principal industrial arm Te Uniana o NSNZ. Te Uniana o NSNZ is a registered union. It is part of the Society and an application for membership of the Society serves as an application for membership of Te Uniana o NSNZ. No extra fees (direct or indirect) apply.

Some of our members are on collective employment agreements (CEAs) negotiated by us, but the majority are currently employed by employers with CEAs negotiated by other unions.  In such circumstances our members are technically on individual employment agreements (IEA).

Some general information on what usually happens if there is a CEA negotiated by another union (as in Te Whatu Ora) is here

A CEA usually only applies to employees who hold membership with the union or unions party to the CEA.  That is, it only applies to employees who are members of the union or unions that negotiated the CEA.  In such circumstances employees who are not members of the union party to the CEA are employed on IEAs, rather than the CEA. 

The terms and conditions in an IEA are usually based on the relevant CEA. 

The terms and conditions contained in a new CEA can generally be offered to employees on an IEA, although not automatically.  If the employer wants to offer the same conditions to an employee on an IEA, they need to make an offer to the employee to vary their IEA terms. In large workplaces this is typically done by an email to the employee. In other words, they can offer employees on an IEA the same terms as employee on an CEA, but they must make an offer if they wish to do this – it cannot be automatic.

What about Te Whatu Ora (formerly DHBs)?

The former DHBs had a MECA – that is, a multi-employer CEA.  This was because there were 20 DHBs (20 employers).  Te Whatu Ora is a single employer for the sector, hence the MECA was replaced by a single employer CEA.

The IEAs used by the former DHBs were always derived from the MECA, offering the same or substantially the same terms and conditions as the MECA, and usually with the same effective date, although there was some variation between the old DHBs on effective dates.

Since the IEA terms used by DHBs essentially matched the MECA terms there was arguably no need to negotiate our own MECA with the DHBs. 

Our members employed by Te Whatu Ora are still employed on IEAs based on the Te Whatu CEA.  

Although Te Whatu Ora is a single employer it still has 20 regional HR departments and multiple payroll systems.  Following the implementation of a new 2023 CEA, since September 2023 Te Whatu Ora regions have issued their IEA variation offers.  As of late January 2024, all but two regions have issued their IEA variation offers.     

The current IEA used across Te Whatu Ora is standard and it offers the same conditions and pay rates as the CEA.  However, it has a 60 day later effective date for the 2023 increases.  The IEA offers the same scheduled 1 April 2024 pay increase as per the CEA.

This later effective backdating date is concerning and unwelcome.  Hence plans are in train for the us to do our own separate CEA for members employed by Te Whatu Ora.   

Other Sectors

In principle the same approach applies to other sectors.  Over a third of all primary care and urgent care nurses hold membership with us.  That sector has a MECA.  Except where we have a CEA with specific employers, most of our members are on IEAs based on the PHC MECA.

New Employees and CEAs

There are some special provisions for new employees across all workplaces where there is a CEA.  New employees are automatically on the CEA for their first 30 days, regardless of what union they belong to or whether they belong to any union. 

If new employee does not opt to join the union that negotiated the CEA within the 30 day-period, they are automatically placed on an IEA that must have conditions and terms that are no less favourable than the CEA.  

Pay Equity Claims and Settlements

Pay equity (PE) claims are covered by special legislation.  The only PE claim for nursing staff settled to date applies only to Te Whatu Ora current employees and DHB former employees.

That pay equity claim has now been settled and all Te Whatu Ora employees are eligible for the pay increases and the related lump sums. 

Back pay and pay increases (as opposed to the lump sums) relate to employment from 7 March 2022.

Former DHB/Te Whatu Ora employees can still apply to Te Whatu Ora using form. 

New Pay Equity Claims

Recently PE claims have been submitted for some other sectors.  These claims apply to all employees in their respective sector regardless of union membership.  Likewise, any settlement will also apply to all employees regardless of union membership.

Pay Disparity Funding

In 2020 and 2023 the previous government provided pay disparity funding across a wide range of NGO and private health providers.  This funding was designed to allow those employers to boost pay rates to at least 95% of the 2020 Te Whatu Ora rates. 

This funding and increases also applied to all nursing staff regardless of union membership or type of employment agreement.


The Society does a small number of CEA and has done so for many years.  The number is likely to increase.

Effective support and solutions