Nearly 12,000 DHB workers vote overwhelmingly to take industrial action

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Nearly 12,000 District Health Board (DHB) workers, members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have overwhelmingly voted in favour of taking industrial action after they were offered only a 0.7% pay increase per year and no movement on other issues including training and professional development.

The health workers are located in every DHB across New Zealand, and include mental and public health nurses; physiotherapists; anaesthetic technicians; dental therapists, administrative staff and a number of other occupational groups.

Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary, said “Health workers are making a stand, together, to say this is not good enough, and they deserve better,”

“The strength of these results, with an average 87.1% in favour of industrial action, shows the seriousness of the funding crisis in the health sector.

“Our members take their duty of care very seriously, it is a huge step for them to even consider taking such strong action.
 
“DHB staff work hard to keep New Zealanders healthy, but their own wellbeing is put under increasing strain by these insulting offers.

“The DHBs have told us that the Government has indicated there will be even less money on the table next year — a continuation of systemic underfunding of the health system.
 
“Budget documents say DHBs expect a 17% increase in demand over the ten years to 2021, but they won’t get the funding to match and they’re planning to squeeze it out of staff.

“The Government has plenty of big talk promising wage rises for New Zealanders, but their own workers are being left behind.

“Our members are asking to be fairly recognised for the hard work they put in to keep our health system running – an annual pay rise shouldn’t start with a decimal point,” said Richard Wagstaff.