Nearly 1000 Otago and Southland health workers will join
others nationwide to take strike action after being offered a
0.7% pay increase.
The 735 Otago and 182 Southland clinical staff (excluding
most nurses and doctors) who are members of the Public
Service Association (PSA) have voted in favour of taking
action including work to rule, an overtime ban and walking
off the job for two to three hours at a time, over three
weeks starting late this month.
Affected are about 12,000 PSA members nationwide, including
mental and public health nurses, physiotherapists,
anaesthetic technicians, dental therapists, administrative
staff and other occupational groups that voted to take
It would be the largest health industry industrial action
taken in a decade.
PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said health workers
were making a stand, with an average 87.1% in favour of
''An annual pay rise shouldn't start with a decimal point,''
There was also no movement on other issues such as training
and professional development, he said.
''Our members take their duty of care very seriously. It is a
huge step for them to even consider taking such strong
Health boards had told the union the Government had indicated
there would be even less money on the table next year, Mr
''Budget documents say DHBs expect a 17% increase in demand
over the 10 years to 2021, but they won't get the funding to
match and they're planning to squeeze it out of staff.''
District Health Boards Employment Relations Strategy Group
and Hutt and Wairarapa District Health Boards chief executive
Graham Dyer said the PSA had not issued notice of strike
action yet and mediation was planned for August 14-15 so he
hoped the issues would be resolved then.
If it was not, health boards would manage the impact of any
action the PSA choose to take to ''absolutely minimise its
impact on patients and services''.
The PSA was not recognising the tight fiscal environment
health boards were in, he said.
Bargaining for the six collective agreements had been going
on for between one and 12 months and the health boards had
made ''a number of proposals'' to respond to the issues
raised by the PSA.
''The co-ordinated timing of the action is clearly part of
some other agenda,'' Mr Dyer said.
''Ultimately it is simply about pay.''
The boards had offered the PSA nursing and allied groups a
1.5% increase for about two years which was the same
settlement that had been accepted by medical physicists,
medical radiation technologists, clinical psychologists and
medical laboratory workers, among others.
Southern District Health Board patient services executive
director Lexie O'Shea said the board would follow its usual
processes if the strike action went ahead, ''which is to
carry out detailed contingency planning to minimise the
impact on our services and ensure we communicate with all
potentially affected parties''.
PSA health workers' proposed action
Work to rule: August 25-September 10
Overtime ban: September 1-10
Two-hour strike: September 2
Three-hour strike: September 10