5 Oct 2010

Laboratory workers announce strikes

2:11 pm on 5 October 2010

Laboratory workers locked in a bitter pay dispute with district health boards for more than three months have issued 24-hour strike notices.

Medical Laboratory Workers Union national president Stewart Smith says a hardline approach by some employers in suspending staff taking low-level industrial action is making services unsafe.

Until now, he says, lab workers have taken limited industrial action, such as not answering phones, but suspending some workers has put unsafe workloads on remaining staff.

Blood Service staff in Palmerston North will go on strike on Friday 8 October and Monday 11 October, after the laboratory announced it was suspending five of its six staff members this week.

Lab workers in Northland, Auckland and Counties Manukau health boards will walk off the job for 24 hours on 18 October, as will Blood Service workers in Waikato.