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Southland health services headed for disruption

PSA Press Release

Attention: Industrial reporters June 26, 2003

Southland health services headed for disruption

Negotiations have broken down between the Southland District Health Board and the PSA and New Zealand Nurses Organisation after two days of talks, placing the region’s health services at risk, PSA and combined unions spokesperson, Mark Ryan said today.

“If members vote to take industrial action it will disrupt health services and may affect the transfer to the new hospital.”

He said the negotiations were for the renewal of the Professional, Technical and Related Collective Agreement covering allied health professionals – which include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, anaesthetic and medical technicians, social workers and others.

“The talks broke down over the employer’s refusal to move beyond a 2% total cost package. The unions are seeking a minimum 3% increase for one year, with 6% for two years. Other issues include an additional week’s annual leave, and improvements to salary structures for certain occupational groups covered by the agreement.”

Mark Ryan said it was an extremely disappointing result.

“We had hoped that the SDHB would be able to meet our minimum position and enable a fair and reasonable settlement for union members. Historically, settlements with this agreement have been lower than those reached for other health professional occupations, particularly nurses and doctors. The staff involved provide health services no less important to the Southland community and the district health board has to confront the issue of whether it wishes to provide the quality of local health services to which the Southland community is entitled.”

Mark Ryan said the unions would be recommending that their members take industrial action if the employer did not improve its offer. Stop-work meetings would be held on Friday July 4.

[ends]

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