24 Jan 2019

Junior doctors strike to go ahead as mediation fails

7:04 pm on 24 January 2019

Mediation talks between junior doctors and their employers today have failed to resolve a deep dispute between them over rosters.

Junior doctors strike outside Auckland Hospital.

Junior doctors outside Auckland Hospital during the last strike. Photo: RNZ / Brooke Jenner

About 3000 junior doctors went on strike last week, in a dispute between the Resident Doctors Association and DHBs over hours, rosters and pay.

The regulatory body for all doctors, the Medical Council, stepped in this week and urged cooperation at today's talks.

Both sides agreed to mediation this week, with talks that began mid-morning today in Auckland, but by the afternoon it had failed.

District health boards this afternoon said they were disappointed the Resident Doctors Association had rejected attempts to resolve the row and prevent another strike next week.

They said they bargained in good faith, but the union had no new suggestions for addressing issues such as hospitals' need for greater flexibility in rostering.

Union national secretary Deborah Powell rejected that, saying they had ideas but the DHBs would not withdraw planned clawbacks concerning the rosters.

"What we suggested was that we simply roll over the current collective employment agreement, but importantly accept the medical council's invitation to have the chair of the medical council work with us to find solutions to these problems."

The DHBs said they would keep making contingency plans for the second 48-hour strike beginning 7am Tuesday.

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