Health workers take to streets

Southern health workers took to the streets to demand better pay as they took part in a national 24-hour strike yesterday.

Many tooting cars could be heard showing support to the striking Invercargill allied health workers on the corner of Elles and Bluff Rds.

Striking workers in Dunedin gathered with placards in hand in two locations.

One group gathered at the front of Wakari Hospital, while demonstrators were also present on the corner of Great King and Hanover Sts, near Dunedin Hospital’s main doors.

Striking workers demonstrated outside Southland Hospital as part of the national allied health...
Striking workers demonstrated outside Southland Hospital as part of the national allied health worker strike yesterday. PHOTO: TONI MCDONALD
Speaking in Invercargill, PSA delegate Stacey Muir said more than 200 Allied staff at Southland Hospital, representing 70 different professions, had been bargaining with the Government for the past 20 months to have their wages bought into line with other sectors of the health industry.

"We still haven’t had a fair pay offer.

"Some of the people standing here today have only received a pay increase simply because the minimum wage had been lifted."

Some wages were so low when the minimum wage increase come into force, two salary bands became illegal she said.

Without the minimum wage adjustment, staff had not received any increase in wages since early 2019.

Passing motorists were encouraged to show support with their car horns for striking workers...
Passing motorists were encouraged to show support with their car horns for striking workers outside Wakari Hospital. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
That is despite the fact Employment Relations had made clear recommendations which the DHBs refused to honour, she said.

"For some reason, Government doesn’t see us as a valuable workforce and are not prepared to pay us accordingly."

Allied health workers cover tasks not covered by doctors, nurses or administration personnel.

More than 10,000 workers took part in the protests nationally.

 — Toni McDonald, additional reporting Andrew Marshall

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