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CDHB Worries Pickets May Mean ‘Blue Flu’

Monday 12 September 2005

CDHB Worries Pickets May Mean ‘Blue Flu’

“NUPE delegates seeking a 30% catch-up have decided to continue with their strike and will now begin to picket the Canterbury District Health Board’s (CDHB) Hospitals tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Martin Cooney, organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE).

Martin Cooney said that 250 of the striking NUPE members had rallied today at Labour Party HQ in Christchurch to seek funding for an acceptable offer for support and other staff members.

“Pickets will begin round 7am Tuesday at Burwood, Christchurch Public, Princess Margaret and Hillmorton Hospitals,” said Martin Cooney. “Delegates had hoped the Government would intervene today to lift the 1.7% available for support staff and avoid the inevitable difficulties ahead once pickets start.”

“For example, the CDHB expects a number of staff to not cross the picket line and ring in sick with ‘blue flu’,” said Martin Cooney. “An email sent out to staff by managers last week warned that all staff who phone in sick during the strike action will be required to produce a medical certificate. ”

“This move is illegal but typical of the sort of issues that emerge in this situation,” said Martin Cooney. “Another email warned that security had been organised for the Hillmorton and TPMH sites. The Boards misunderstands why fellow workers often refuse to cross picket lines and go home.”

“NUPE’s argument is with the Government not the other staff in the CDHB. Picket captains have been told to take a high profile at Hospital gates when staff are arriving, but to back away from any direct conflict tomorrow.”

ENDS

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