• Posted on: 2/02/2022
  • 2 minutes to read
  • Tagged with: District Health Boards

The health workers covered by the collective agreement are allied, public health, scientific and technical workers, consisting of over 70 professions.

Sterile sciences technician, Steve says, “We are the most under pressure I have seen in over ten years in the health sector. My department alone is 66% understaffed. On top of that most of my colleagues don’t earn a living wage, and I have to work a second job to ensure that I can support my family.

We are shocked that the DHBs and the Government are happy to make an offer to us that will see us fall thousands of dollars behind our colleagues. All we want is to be paid fairly and feel that we are valued as essential workers. We have exhausted all other options, and a strike is the only remaining option to get the Government to take us seriously.”

Laboratory worker Sue agrees, “Laboratory staff are tired. We feel the pressure to deliver fast, accurate results to the New Zealand public. We have shown how amazing, fast, forward thinking and quick to adapt our Medical Laboratory service is.

All I can say about the DHB’s offer is that it’s a joke. We feel undervalued and that our hard work has gone unnoticed. No one is listening to us or taking us seriously.”

After over 90 percent of members voted to reject an initial offer in December 2021, the PSA and DHBs met on Wednesday 2 February to continue negotiations. The DHBs presented a new offer but, with a minimal increase on the original offer for a significantly longer term, this fell far short of health workers’ expectations with some describing it as an insult. 

PSA organiser Will Matthews expressed his disappointment at today’s offer, “It falls dramatically short of a fair deal. The Government expects these workers to come in every day to protect New Zealand from the pandemic but will not agree to treat them fairly when it comes to pay and working conditions.

My experience with these health workers is that they are committed to serving New Zealanders with the utmost professionalism. Our next steps are a last resort. Considering strike action is not where we wanted to end up.”

The result of the vote will be available the week of 14 February 2022.