Minister called on to mediate in Auckland DHBs industrial dispute

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Health minister Jonathan Coleman’s the last chance for an end to the Auckland Allied Health dispute, the Public Service Association says – and it’s calling on him to break the deadlock.

More than 3000 PSA members, including anaesthetic technicians, physiotherapists, psychologists and laboratory technicians plan strike action next month.

At issue is the DHBs’ plans to move from a 5-day-a-week to a 7-day-a-week service – and funding it by reducing the wages and conditions of PSA members.

PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk has taken the unusual step of writing to the Minister seeking his direct intervention.

“The DHBs have applied to the Employment Relations Authority asking for facilitated bargaining,” Ms Polaczuk says.

“But we want to try to bring all the major players in this dispute together – including the Minister. 

“We believe his input will be crucial, as he alone can advise about the funding issues which are at the heart of this dispute.”

A report by Infometrics has identified a $1.7 billlion funding gap in health, and Auckland DHB chief executive Ailsa Claire has admitted funding is a crucial issue.

“We have also asked Dr Coleman to invite Ms Claire, President of the NZ CTU Richard Wagstaff and the Director General of Health, Chai Chuah. 

“We are as keen as the DHBs to resolve this issue.

“But our members say the DHBs’ proposal will severely impact their ability to deliver quality care every day, and we want an outcome that will not undermine that.”