Factsheet (for the public)

Non-nursing health professionals are taking action in Auckland

Over thirty different occupations will take action, including physiotherapists, social workers and pharmacists. We provide care for all kiwis from babies to older adults at Auckland District Health Board, Counties Manukau District Health Board and Waitemata District Health Board. We are members of the Public Service Association.

 

What actions are health workers taking?

A ban on paid and unpaid overtime (10 Nov – 11 Dec)

To highlight under-funding and under-staffing issues.

 

Four two-hour symbolic strikes at each DHB (10 Nov – 27 Nov)

To send a strong message about unsafe and unfair plans to stretch services across seven days when they aren't staffed for five..

  • Tue 10: 8 – 10am at Waitemata DHB
  • Wed 11: 8 – 10am at Auckland DHB
  • Thu 12: 8 – 10am at Counties Manukau DHB
  • Tue 17: 8 – 10am at Waitemata DHB
  • Wed 18: 8 – 10am at Auckland DHB
  • Thu 19: 8 – 10am at Counties Manukau DHB
  • Tue 24: 8 – 10am at Waitemata DHB
  • Wed 25: 8 – 10am at Auckland DHB
  • Thu 26: 12 – 2pm at Counties Manukau DHB
  • Fri 27: 12 - 2pm at all three Auckland DHBs, picketing outside Auckland Hospital.

A good will strike (27 Nov – 11 Dec)

To highlight understaffing issues. Workers will take their breaks, start and finish on time and follow job descriptions.

 

It’s about patients and quality care, not pay rises.

We work in public health because we care for you. We’re taking action because we feel a plan by District Health Board in Aucklands will put patient care at risk. Over the last decade we’ve accepted below cost of living increases to minimise the impact of funding cuts. We offered to delay our next cost of living payment by 6½ months to help save costs. This would be $600,000 less than Nurses and other PSA members were given by DHBs and would save them more money than their plan to reduce incomes for new staff.

 

We are keen to get back into negotiations

The District Health Boards say they'll only go back into negotiations if we drop strike action. We've agreed to drop strike action if we can agree in principle to a deal. The DHBs insistence that we haven't raised workload problems when in reality we've been doing so since 2010 is why staff want to raise their concerns in public. We've been in bargaining for six months and the DHBs still haven't made a formal offer. The PSA has moved considerably from our original position, but DHBs haven't fundamentally shifted from their original position. We've offered to accept $600,000 less than Nurses and other PSA members accepted and which would save them more money than their plan to reduce incomes for new staff. 

We feel we’ve been forced to strike

Striking is something health professionals rarely do. The last major strike by was over forty years ago. We only do it when it matters and when we’re concerned patient care is at risk. We’ve been in negotiations with DHBs for six months and feel we need to send them a clear message. They turned down our alternative plan plans to explore how we can implement seven day services safely and fairly.

 

We’re only taking low-level symbolic strike action

Our goal is to send a strong message, not disrupt patients. We are running short two hour strikes and have worked with DHBs to minimise the impact on patients. Our ban on overtime and good will strike will mean staff don't do work they aren't required to do. It will show how understaffed DHBs are.

 

We’ve worked closely with DHBs to minimise the impact of any action

Patients are our priority. We’ve proactively worked with DHBs to ensure life preserving services are maintained. We’ve offered to keep back more staff than requested where we felt it wasn’t safe. If there is an emergency we’ll be the first ones to say we need to go back to work.

 

We love our public health system

We believe in public health. It’s the fairest and best way to ensure everyone is cared for, no matter their economic means. While we are negotiating with District Health Boards, we know they are being forced to make difficult decisions because of the Government’s $1.7billion cuts.

 

We’re already one of the most productive public health systems in the world

According to the OECD we are already one of the highest performing public health care systems despite having lower per capita funding than most other OECD countries.

 

DHBs refused our offer to delay a cost of living increase by 6½ months

Delaying our next cost of living pay rise would save the DHBs more money than the plan they’ve given us. It would also give us time to discuss a fair transition to fully-funded seven day services.

 

DHBs want to cut new staff incomes to pay for the new services

This is unsafe and unfair. Some services are understaffed due to recruitment and retention problems putting pressure on services and patients. Reducing incomes will make the problem worse. It’s also unsafe paying new staff less for doing the same job as other staff. We work in public health because we want everyone to be treated equally.