Internationally:30,000 New Zealand Nurses vote to engage in 24-hour strikes.

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The New Zealand Nurses Organization (NZNO) said its 30,000 members working in District Health Boards (DHBs) had voted in favour of three more strikes.

The strikes will be on July 29 for 24 hours, an eight-hour strike on August 19 and another 24-hour strike on September 9.NZNO lead advocate David Wait said the vote was very high and members clearly remained resolute about ongoing strike action.

Last month 30,000 nurses walked off the job when contract negotiations broke down. Union members have just submitted their votes on whether to strike again. This follows continued mediation between nurses and the DHBs.Health Minister of New Zealand, Andrew Little, had said he was satisfied there had been constructive discussion between the two parties.”But I’m acutely aware that the centrepiece really of what’s going to fix the problem is what we do on the pay equity question, that’s been around for three years now and I’ve asked officials to accelerate that work,” Little said.

District Health Boards spokesperson Dale Oliff said DHBs believed they could come up with an offer to settle the pay talks.”We’re working towards the best possible outcome – a settlement – but we also need to ensure we can maintain essential hospital services if the strike goes ahead as a 24-hour strike across 29 and 30 July will have a significant impact on hospital services.”He said DHBs would try to minimize disruption with some non-acute and elective procedures deferred where necessary.”We expect to receive formal notice of strike soon, but our aim is to settle the MECA and prevent the strikes,” Oliff said.

Reporter: Melissa Goodman