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Mediation Scheduled For Lab Workers Talks

MEDIA STATEMENT
Thursday 23 November 2006
Mediation Scheduled For Lab Workers Talks

District Health Boards say talks with a mediator planned for Friday and Monday are the best chance of preventing the week-long strike threatened by laboratory workers.

Lab workers at 15 DHBs have threatened to strike for seven days from next Wednesday in support of a claim for more than a 20% increase in pay and conditions. The action will also affect three private labs and the New Zealand Blood Service.

DHB Spokesperson Gordon Davies says DHBs are prepared to be flexible, but they can’t agree to a deal that will compromise patient services or the pay of other workers.

“The union says it’s after a realistic settlement - a 13% pay claim plus another 8% in conditions is hardly realistic.”

“We’re keen to listen to the union’s proposals and to use any savings they have been able to identify to increase our offer.

“We will be entering mediation seeking to find a resolution that meets the needs of both sides and to avert this strike.”

Mr Davies says while negotiators try to find a settlement, contingency planners are preparing hospitals in case the strike goes ahead. Lab workers are an important part of the health team and are a key to a range of diagnostic tools doctors have in deciding the best course of treatment for patients.

“Services that would be affected include the provision of blood, all testing of samples such as blood, tissues and swabs for diagnosis in over 70% of all hospital admissions.
Some primary services and private hospitals are likely to be affected and the strike will mean the postponement of elective surgery at all DHBs given the potential impact on blood provision.”


ENDS

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