11 Aug 2010

Auckland lab workers may continue industrial action

5:33 pm on 11 August 2010

Medical laboratory workers at Auckland public hospitals are indicating they will ignore employers' pleas and continue partial industrial action.

About 1000 laboratory staff at district health boards throughout New Zealand are engaged in rolling strikes over negotiations for a new multi-employer collective agreement with their DHB employers.

Auckland DHB general manager of operations Ngaire Buchanan says the three Auckland boards have been suspending a total of about 30 striking lab workers a day, for between three and six hours each, in protest over the disruption caused.

Mrs Buchanan says the workers' actions are delaying test results on patients and affecting non-union staff.

She has appealed to the union to drop the action while it considers the latest pay offer. The union says that request has not been formally put to workers.

The action is occurring while the Medical Laboratory Workers Union ballots members over a revised offer.

The Auckland DHB says it is delaying tests and treatment for patients, which is causing anxiety.

DHBs say they have offered 1% in July and another 1% in January.