4 Jul 2018

ACC medical advisers vote to strike after pay talks fall through

5:43 pm on 4 July 2018

ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) medical advisers are joining in a spate of strikes around the country to protest over pay and conditions.

ACC Building

Medical advisers at ACC have voted in favour of industrial action. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Thirty-nine medical advisers will launch rolling stoppages for four hours on a different day each week, for five weeks from 17 July.

Their union, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) said the workers wanted a redundancy agreement matching what other ACC employees may receive, a statement in the collective agreement about staff wellbeing, and a 1 percent pay rise.

Union senior industrial officer Lloyd Woods said it was disappointed members were having to take such a drastic measure for their demands to be met.

"Our members have been very patient but negotiations have been going on since November and ACC just keeps on dragging its heels," Mr Woods said.

"It should be a no-brainer for ACC to accept these perfectly reasonable claims."

ACC said negotiations would continue to be held with the union.

"We acknowledge there have been challenges along the way, but genuinely want to come to a fair and reasonable settlement for both parties," ACC said in a statement.

"We'd like to clarify that the main reason negotiations have stalled is ASMS claims for salary increases and redundancy provisions over and above those offered to other ACC employees."

Plans were being put into place to ensure clients were not affected by the strike action.

Strike, strike and more strikes

The announcement comes after several other union members from a range of professions including teachers, nurses, and Inland Revenue workers notified their employers they would hold industrial action following failed talks to improve pay, conditions and address staff shortages.

Last week union members at Inland Revenue (IRD) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment voted "overwhelmingly" to take industrial action on 9 July and 23 July, the Public Service Association said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Nurses Organisation members are currently voting on whether to proceed with a strike planned for next Thursday after several negotiations and new offers for pay rises from District Health Boards fell through.

Yesterday, primary school teachers rejected the Education Ministry's pay offer and voted for a half-day stoppage on 15 August - making it the first time they would strike in 24 years, New Zealand Educational Institute union said.

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