Allied, public health, scientific and technical healthcare workers have turned down their latest collective agreement offer from DHBs in an astounding landslide vote, with over 90 percent of members opposed, their union says.
"This is one of the strongest rejections of an employer offer I’ve seen", says PSA Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi national secretary Kerry Davies. "This sends a really clear signal to DHBs that their offer was highly inadequate."
"For most of our members this offer is hardly a pay rise - in fact, when adjusted for inflation, for many of them it’s a pay cut in real terms. This is not the way we should be thanking people who have been working on the front lines of our Covid-19 response, especially when they’ve been chronically underpaid for so long."
In contrast, she says, other DHB healthcare workers in negotiations over the past year received much more substantial offers.
"We went into negotiations calling for the same treatment as our colleagues, but we’ve been refused", says PSA member Janet Quigley."It seems grossly unfair for our employer to treat one group of us so differently from others."
"Covid-19 has meant all of us have had an especially hard couple of years - and being short on staff in our parts of the healthcare sector has made that even worse. So in that context, I think it’s understandable that we found this offer extremely disappointing.
"New Zealanders can see the hard work we’ve been putting in throughout the pandemic - it’s been really validating to know that they appreciate what we do. And our work isn’t done yet. Our medlab scientists, for instance, will be busy all summer processing COVID tests to keep our communities safe as the borders reopen.
"It’s gutting that the recognition we’ve had from everyday New Zealanders hasn’t translated to a fair pay offer from our employer.”
"We'll be going back into negotiations as soon as possible, and we’ll keep pushing for a fairer deal - and we’ll be considering all our options at that stage."
Allied, public health, scientific and technical healthcare workers are responsible for delivering specialist healthcare services that sit outside of the medical and nursing professions - including, for instance, pharmacists, medlab scientists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.