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Here we go again – again!

Media Statement – Tuesday 22 April 2008

Here we go again – again!

The suggestion of further industrial action by junior doctors beggars belief, says DHB spokesperson David Meates.

“This union should be more concerned about finding a way to solve the dispute rather than trying to prolong it.

“If anyone needed convincing about why we need to change the way we negotiate, this is it. On the eve of the strike they increased their claim and now they’re threatening even more disruption to support a demand for 40% over 3 years.”

Mr Meates says DHBs have offered junior doctors settlements that are in keeping with other health professionals. “It would be an insult to all the unions and health staff that have engaged collaboratively with us if we were to buckle to industrial pressure and give this group more.”

“Perhaps the junior doctors and their union could suggest which patient services we could cut, or what other pay settlements we could reduce to meet their claim?

“We have offered a way forward to look at how we can address underlying workforce problems – this group is looking backwards. We’ve suggested sitting down to talk about a new direction and ways to invest more in our junior doctors – their response is to go on strike and now threaten even more action.

“We’ve increased the number of doctors by 300 over the last five years and their earnings have gone up 28% since 2001 – that hasn’t worked yet the union’s recipe is more of the same.”

Mr Meates says DHBs have managed to engage on forward thinking collaborative agreements with other health unions, but this union continues to stand outside all those arrangements.

“Junior doctors need to start asking themselves if their approach is in keeping with the modern, team based approach to medicine that their colleagues have embraced.”


Media Advisory

Attached is some information clarifying the junior doctors pay claim, the DHB offer and junior doctor earnings.

The Junior Doctors’ Claim
In mediation last week, the junior doctors’ union reduced its claim to a total of 31.25% being made up of:
* 21.25% salary over 3 years (17.25% of that in the first 13 months)
* Increases to a range of other conditions and allowances that totals another 10% over the term of the contract

Yesterday, the RDA increased its claim to 40%
* 30% salary made up of 3 annual increases of 10%
* Increases to a range of other conditions and allowances that totals another 10% over the term of the contract
* This is the claim now on the table

The DHBs’ efforts had been aimed at finding a short-term fix to avert the strike so we could work together on finding some long-term solutions to the workforce issues we face. The DHB offer was:
* 4.25% for a year term or a lump sum equivalent to that amount and no settlement with an undertaking to table a new direction prior to 1 June 08
* By way of comparison - the value of the DHB offer applied to a three year term is $76M to 30 June 2010. This equates to 4.25% pa for each of 3 years – the junior doctors’ claim is $235M over the same period.

Now that the strike has begun, our offer is off the table. We will not be negotiating during the strike and we will approach the union after the strike – we still need to find a way to settle these pay talks.

Existing Pay rates

Describing average earnings for junior doctors is difficult because of the variety of factors that exist.

There are 265 different combinations of scales all are which correct in context. As an example – a 1st year House office straight from Uni will be on a scale ranging from $47,669 – $90,890 depending on factors such as category of run, location, etc.

Junior doctor earnings are a complex combination of base and a range of other payments – not overtime but things like cross cover, additional hours, loadings for work in no urban areas which don’t offer additional earning and therefore have to ‘top up’ total pay, super.

Because there are so many variables, the only meaningful comparison is actual earnings which are attached. Please note that House Officers and Registrars are all junior doctors or Resident Medical officers involved in these pay talks.

House Officers
Year / Base Salary / Super / Other non salary / Total Rem / Average Weekly Earnings
1st Year / 70,138 / 2,473 / 15,149 / 87,760 / 1,687
2nd Year / 76,621 / 2,701 / 16,550 / 95,872 / 1,843
ALL / 79,489 / 2,803 / 17,169 / 99,461 / 1,913

Year / Base Salary / Super / Other non salary / Total Rem / Average Weekly Earnings
1st Year / 80,015 / 2,821 / 17,283 / 100,119 / 1,925
2nd Year / 82,637 / 2,914 / 17,849 / 103,400 / 1,988
ALL / 98,313 / 3,466 / 21,235 / 123,014 / 2,365

Junior doctors also receive:
* 6 weeks annual leave
* 2 weeks study leave


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