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Strike On As Union Rejects New Pay Deal


Strike On As Union Rejects New Pay Deal

Friday 8 September, 2006


The strike by radiographers in seven District Health Boards now seems certain to go ahead after the radiographers union rejected a new pay proposal during mediated negotiations over the last two days.

Radiographers or Medical Radiation Technologists provide services such as X-rays, CT and MRI scans and ultrasound – they will stop work for three days from Tuesday next week at seven DHBs - Southland, Otago, Canterbury, Hutt Valley, Tairawhiti (Gisborne), Lakes (Rotorua), and Bay of Plenty. Two more strike notices have also been issued for Tuesday and Thursday the following week to all except Tairawhiti.

Dr Dwayne Crombie, CEO of Waitemata District Health Board and Spokesperson for the DHBs, says the strikes now seem inevitable and services at the hospitals involved will be drastically affected.

“Virtually all elective surgery at the hospitals involved will be postponed during the strikes and outpatient clinics will be reduced to ensure patient numbers are as low as possible. Doctors won’t have x-rays and scans to help in diagnosis except in life threatening situations and each hospital is scaling back its services accordingly.

“Emergency services will be provided – we don’t want people who are seriously ill staying away, but unless it is urgent, most hospitals are advising patients to see their GP first.”

DHBs acknowledge the striking MRTs want terms and conditions consistent with other MRTs, but DR Crombie says there are a large number of greatly varying rates and aligning them in one year will cost DHBs more than 15% which is simply not affordable.

“What’s disappointing is that DHBs essentially offered radiographers what they asked for – an automatic pay scale from $42,400 - $57,000 with additional steps to $82,000 for those with extra training and qualification. In addition, most MRTs earn an extra 20% in penal rates and overtime.

“The difference is that DHB need to spread the settlement over two and a half years to make it affordable – the union wants it all in one. This is an argument over timing.

“National consistency involves compromise on both sides – we have moved our position considerably – the union’s position is virtually unchanged. We want a negotiated settlement, but it can't be at the expense of other services or other health workers.”

Ends


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