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Senior Doctors Collective Agreement Negotiations

“Historic Return To National Senior Doctors Collective Agreement Negotiations”

“Senior doctors are making an historic return to national collective agreement negotiations with district health boards,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was referring to the formal commencement of national negotiations with DHBs this week (29 April-1 May) in Wellington. The Association’s National Executive will form the basis of its negotiating team.

“Our last national negotiations were held in 1991 but the punitive Employment Contracts Act was used to deny this right to senior doctors and other employees. Fortunately that negative narrow-minded Act was repealed and the new Employment Relations Act is more flexible and fair over negotiation rights.”

“DHBs throughout New Zealand face a serious situation with significant senior doctor shortages and strong international competition. This is made worse by low morale and lack of confidence among many senior doctors over the resourcing, working conditions and management of the public health system. Many managers and politicians under-estimate how precarious this situation is.”

“Our claim focuses on important conditions such as salaries, compensation for after-hours emergency rosters, annual leave and superannuation. But the claim is more than money and employee benefits. It also widens the scope of what can be covered in a collective agreement to support for professional development and education, workforce development, equipment and resources, and involvement in DHB decision-making.”

“The success or otherwise of these national negotiations centre on whether the new national collective agreement provides the basis for an effective recruitment and retention strategy for employing senior doctors in the public health system and whether it helps turn around the low moral and lack of confidence currently felt by many senior doctors in New Zealand,” concluded Mr Powell.

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