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Senior Doctors National Collective Agreement Negs.

ATTENTION: HEALTH REPORTER NO. OF PAGES: 2


MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
THURSDAY 27 MARCH 2003

“Senior Doctors Initiate National Collective Agreement Negotiations

“Senior doctors have formally initiated national collective agreement negotiations with district health boards,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Negotiations will commence on 29 April for an initial three days. The Association expects to finalise its claim at a National Executive meeting on 10 April.

“Senior doctors were denied the right to national negotiations under the former corrosive Employment Contracts Act. We were forced into local negotiations that, over the years, led to a fragmentation of employment conditions and associated anomalies throughout the country despite our best efforts for national consistency.”

“Under the more flexible Employment Relations Act we have now the opportunity to address these anomalies and negotiate a robust national agreement that will go some way to help address New Zealand’s serious recruitment and retention problems and relieve the increasingly onerous, workloads, work conditions and stress currently facing senior doctors.”

“Support by senior doctors for a national collective agreement to date has been overwhelming. In the 11 DHB ballots held to date, senior doctors have voted by majorities of between 75-100% in favour of national negotiations. The remaining 10 ballots will be held over the next few months linked to the expiry dates of the current collective agreements in these DHBs.”

“Our negotiating strategy will be based on the ‘best of the best’ of the existing collective agreements in the 21 district health boards,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Background Information

1. Under the Employment Relations Act ballots of union members employed by each employer are required to be held within six months of the expiry date of an existing collective agreement. Each district health board has a collective agreement covering senior doctors although negotiations in two (MidCentral and South Canterbury) are still unresolved.

2. Ballots of senior doctors have been completed in the following DHBs – Waitemata, Auckland, Waikato, Lakes, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Whanganui, Hutt Valley, Nelson Marlborough, West Coast and Otago.

3. Currently the expiry dates in the remaining 10 DHBs range between 31 May 2003 and 31 March 2004. Another four ballots should be completed before the commencement of negotiations on 29 April.

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