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Last Ditch Talks to Avert Hospital Ward Closures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 JUNE 2005

Last Ditch Talks to Avert Hospital Ward Closures in Wellington


Wellington and Hutt hospitals are likely to face severe disruption and ward closures by the end of the week if mediated Employment Agreement talks between the Capital and Coast DHB and the Clothing and Laundry Workers Union fail tomorrow (Monday 20 June).

The Clothing and Laundry Union have already issued strike notices to come into effect on Thursday 23 June. The strike will see the complete cessation of laundry production for all Capital and Coast and Hutt Hospitals. "Wards and theatres will be feeling the pinch within 24 hours of the stoppage," said Maxine Gay, secretary of the Clothing, Laundry and Allied Workers Union. "Laundry is a key requirement for the safe functioning of the hospital."

The Department of Labour called the two parties together last Thursday 16 June after talks broke down and strike notices were issued. "We did not make much progress at all on Thursday," said Maxine Gay. The Monday talks will be the last chance to avert the proposed strike.

"The dispute is over wages," said Maxine Gay. "Laundry workers are some of the lowest paid in the hospital. They have lost around 7% compared to cost of living over the last 5 years and their wages are more than a dollar an hour behind the closest hospital laundry in Palmerston North.

If the DHB continues to offer wage increases that are still below the cost of living and makes no attempt to resolve the inequalities caused over the previous years then the strike will be inevitable," said Maxine Gay.

ENDS

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