4 Aug 2014

Health workers may strike over pay

9:01 pm on 4 August 2014

Nearly 12,000 health workers throughout New Zealand say they will take industrial action if a pay offer isn't improved.

The workers are at DHBs throughout New Zealand and include mental and public health nurses, physiotherapists, anaesthetic technicians, dental therapists and administrative staff.

They have been offered increases of 0.7 percent, but say they need 2 percent and have a mandate from members to strike if it is not resolved.

The Public Service Association says 87 percent of members have voted in favour of industrial action if mediation on 14 and 15 August fails, with a work to rule from 25 August and strike action in early September.

The union's national secretary, Richard Wagstaff, said on Monday nurses and clerical staff want 2 percent extra a year and the other allied workers want that amount over 18 months. All are seeking training and professional development also.

But the DHBs' head of employment relation said they can't afford 2 percent. The sector has received increased funding during the global economic downturn and it must be patient now while the economy picks up.

Graham Dyer said other staff, including radiographers and lab workers, have taken 0.7 percent and the PSA is failing to recognise the tight fiscal environment.

Mr Dyer said DHBs expect the union to exhaust all other avenues before it gives notification of industrial action.