Healthcare Workers Refuse To Negotiate With A Computer
Hundreds of healthcare workers are holding a national day of action on 9 April to oppose district health board pay offers which don’t even keep up with the rising cost of living.
The workers provide vital support services for our health system, including laundry, stores, drivers, orderlies, maintenance and trades staff.
They are taking a stand against a DHB management which refuses to budge on a basic pay increase and has taken a “computer says no” approach.
“Workers have a basic right to negotiate for better pay and conditions,” says Paul Tolich, EPMU senior industrial officer. “But the DHBs have made this impossible.
“First they claim that they’re powerless to offer better pay increases because the government has already set their budget. Then they insist that their computer modelling has the final say over what’s possible – and the computer says no.
“Healthcare workers get no opportunity to genuinely negotiate with the real decision-makers: the government. Instead they’re thrown a few crumbs while the number of non-medical staff being paid over $100,000 has increased by the hundreds since 2012.”
The workers are asking for a 4% increase over two years, which would hopefully allow their wages to keep pace with the cost of living and rising inflation.
“The government has said that the economy is improving and workers deserve a pay rise. But this isn’t being applied to the workers at the bottom of the heap, who do vital work to keep our hospitals running,” says Paul Tolich.
The workers are represented by the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union; FIRST Union; UNITE; the Central Amalgamated Workers’ Union; and the Northern Amalgamated Workers’ Union.
They are holding stopwork meetings and 24-hour stoppages at hospitals across New Zealand on9 April.