• Posted on: 16/08/2023
  • 3 minutes to read
  • Tagged with: District Health Boards

Tonight at 6pm, Allied health workers with their union - the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi, their whānau, and communities, will rally at nine ‘Hour of Power’ events nationwide.

"The Hour of Power is a call for urgent action for Allied health workers to receive pay equity as soon as possible," says PSA Equal Pay Organiser, Will Matthews. "We are gathering to celebrate the essential work Allied practitioners do, and call for people in Aotearoa to back their pay equity claim."

Hour of Power rallies will take place in Auckland, Tauranga, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Napier, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. Workers will use glow sticks, torches and lights to bring health work that has been made invisible by gender-based undervaluation into the light.

"All of us want our loved ones’ healthcare to be looked after by people who are specialists in their field, and care for all aspects of their wellbeing," says Matthews.

"But right now, Allied, Public Health, Scientific and Technical workers - 15,000 people in over 100 different professions delivering specialist care and keeping services running - are being underpaid and undervalued.

"The Government has a huge opportunity to make good on their 2020 promise to improve health services for communities, and the lives of the 15,000 health workers by settling the Allied Pay Equity claim as soon as possible. But the claim has been setback by delays which need urgent attention."

Undervaluation based on Allied health work historically mostly being done by women has been recognised through the pay equity claim. Workers and the union are waiting on delays to milestone reports needed to keep the process moving toward completion.

"Allied workers are often the people your whānau see the most of when loved ones are ill, injured, or recovering. It’s highly specialised work that is critical for optimal care and recovery, but our work isn’t recognised for what it’s worth," says Annie, a PSA member and Allied dietician.

"We are dietitians making sure people are nourished after a stroke when they can’t swallow. We are clinical engineers servicing life support machines. We are hospital dental assistants supporting patients through daunting procedures."

"We’re in a cycle of inequity where people who can leave our profession do. People find jobs outside the health system for the same or better pay without the intense stress, risk, and burnout from being overworked and understaffed," PSA member and Allied Occupational Therapist, Nichola, adds.

"By investing in us, community health gets long term gains with well educated, well-rounded clinicians," says PSA member and Allied alcohol and other drug clinician, Monique. "Pay equity is about more than just pay. It’s about equitable outcomes for ourselves, our clients, and future generations of health workers."

Further information:

Hour of Power rallies are tonight, Wednesday 16th of August, from 6pm to 7pm at these locations:

  • Auckland: Takutai Square, Britomart
  • Tauranga: Night walk around the Mount. Meet at 5:50pm at the Surf Club
  • Rotorua: Tutanekai Street. Meet on the lakeside end of Eat Street (cnr. Tutekekai St and Whakaue St)
  • Palmerston North: George Street. Meet behind the library
  • Napier: Meet at Napier Health Centre for a pink and orange march through the town.
  • New Plymouth: Cnr Eliot and Leach Street
  • Wellington: Parliament Grounds
  • Christchurch: March from hospital to the Bridge of Remembrance. Meet at Hagley Oval carpark at 5:30pm
  • Dunedin: Dunedin Museum. Meet on the corner of Great King and Frederick Street by 5:15pm to march, or head to the Museum for 5:45pm

The Allied Health pay equity claim covers 15,000 Allied, Public Health, Scientific, and Technical workers across more than 100 professions. Those professions include pharmacists, psychologists, speech language therapists, anaesthetic technicians, occupational therapists, phlebotomists, and more.