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Time for negotiation in radiographers’ strike

Time for negotiation in radiographers’ strike

District Health Boards say next week’s radiographers’ strikes can be prevented if the union is prepared to compromise as much as hospitals have.

“We have moved our position considerably to get most of them to the national rates they want over two and a half years,” says DHB Spokesperson Dr Dwayne Crombie.

“I don’t believe there are many people who think a 15% pay rise in one year is reasonable. We have told the union we will make a formal offer that will meet its claim for staff MRTs if they lift the remaining strike notices and return to the table prepared to negotiate.”

The three-day strike by radiographers ends this morning but two further days of strike are set down for Tuesday and Thursday next week.

DHBs have outlined a proposal that would give Staff MRTs the pay scale they asked for – a starting salary of $42,400 and automatic increases up to $57,000 – with extra steps to recognise merit, extra skills and extra responsibilities. Dr Crombie says MRTs also earn an average of 20% on top of their salary in penal rates and allowances.

“Settlement needs compromise on both sides and we’ve made a significant first step. Perhaps it’s time the union looked to itself for the real reason behind this strike. Radiographers have made their point – now its time to call off the next strikes and come back to negotiations.

“With the professionalism of others in the healthcare team we’ve managed our hospitals through two strikes by this union and one by junior doctors. We’re not going to negotiate with a gun to our head and it’s time the union realised we won’t bow to unreasonable demands. Patients are the ones who suffer – and all it does for DHBs is harden our resolve to resist industrial blackmail.”

Dr Crombie says DHBs have already offered staff radiographers the same pay range as other healthcare professionals with comparable qualifications and responsibility. By demanding more, their union is saying radiographers are worth more than nurses and other allied health professionals. MRTs are a valuable part of the wider health team – but they are only one part.”

This dispute is not only about salaries. The union wants to increase a number of conditions and some of these will remove the flexibility we need to respond to current and future patient needs or will make it more expensive to respond. This flexibility is what DHBs are fighting hard to retain in all contract negotiations.

“People understand that there’s more at stake than a pay rise for just 260 people. What we do with this group will flow on to tens of thousands of others in our health system and we can’t afford to get into some unrealistic form of salary leap frog where the union uses one settlement to ratchet up another.”

ends

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