Ten thousand PSA allied, public health, scientific and technical workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action set to take place this month.
The essential DHB health workforce voted to ‘work to rule’ from 9 – 20 May and hold a 24-hour strike on 16 May.
The news comes after 18 months of fruitless negotiations, including facilitation by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) and a cynical legal injunction by DHBs to block strike action planned in March.
All the while our members, who work in dozens of roles in DHBs across Aotearoa, continued to carry out life saving work to get the country over the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
WE ARE ALLIED
Sterile services technician Steve said: “I am a qualified health professional, but I don’t make enough to support my family, so I have to work a second job.
“There is nothing to encourage us to stay in our work and we are constantly short staffed due to people leaving for higher paying jobs.”
Laboratory scientist Sue said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic we have worked extremely long hours, often on back-to-back overtime shifts processing Covid-19 tests.
“Our workloads grow whenever staff get sick or get burned out and leave, which puts pressure on everyone else.
“The lack of recognition by the DHBs and Ministry of Health (MOH) is insulting and humiliating to us all."
TE TIRITI IN NAME ONLY
Hauora Māori kaimahi, Allan said: “The DHBs are partners with Tangata Whenua under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, but Māori staff – including those working in cultural roles like me – are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to fair pay and treatment.
“It is exploitation like this that makes me feel that when it comes to health, the DHBs are doing little more than paying lip service to Te Tiriti.”
While the PSA has made progress in negotiations with the DHBs, it is still not enough.
PSA organiser Will Matthews says: “We’re so close to getting this over the line. The DHBs and MOH need to put their money where their mouth is and make a reasonable offer.”
National secretary Kerry Davies describes the solidarity from PSA members as “incredible.”
She says: “Our members, undeterred by the injunction, have ramped up support for allied workers by posting pictures of themselves wearing orange every Friday using the hashtag #WeAreAllied. They’re determined to help our negotiating team achieve a fair deal.”
Allied workers, meanwhile, have been lifting the veil of invisibility that covers their work, showing New Zealanders how integral they are to the health system and how important their mahi is to public health.
Show your solidarity with these essential health workers. Post a picture of yourself wearing orange every Friday, using the hashtag #WeAreAllied.
You can also sign our petition here.