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Deal Could Shift Dhb Clerical Workers To National

Deal Could Shift Dhb Clerical Workers To National

“The Labour Government should be very worried that clerical health workers - stuck till 2009 with a negative pay deal just agreed between the Public Service Association and South Island Health Boards - are already talking about voting National to get the tax cuts,” said Martin Cooney, Organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. Clerical workers include medical secretaries, ward clerks, telephonists, admissions clerks, clinical records, clinical coders, accounts clerks, receptionists, payroll officers and stores clerks, all vital to running our Hospitals.

“NUPE – as well as the PSA - has been in negotiations with South Island DHBs for a fair pay 30% catch-up for low paid clerical workers since November 2004,” said Martin Cooney. “The sticking point is a Government ‘future funding track’ of just over 2% per year to Health Boards for all wage rises.”

“The DHB settlement reached with the PSA included a one off lump sum of $800 (pre-tax, CDHB) plus three 2% (approx) per annum increases and a term till 30 June 2009. For an effective term of 4.5 years that makes an average 6.8% settlement. With an effective annual pay rise of 1.5% and inflation at 3.3% this will leave these low paid workers about 8% worse off by 2009 in real income terms,” said Martin Cooney.

“For workers on lower steps of the scale, the deal is an actual pay cut compared to their old Collective Agreement since there is no progression up the scale over the term of the new document,” said Martin Cooney. “The first step on the scale will be $11.30 in July 2009, despite a Labour Party stated desire for a $12 minimum wage by 2008.”

“Given that National has already indicated that it will target traditional Labour voters in the cities with its lower taxes message, it seems self defeating for a Labour Government to settle deals like this,” said Martin Cooney. “NUPE’s clerical health workers are now facing similar terms and are sick of the ‘jam tomorrow’ message from Labour. Rather than washing his hands of the problem, the Health Minister needs to inject more funds for Health Board salaries into the 18 May budget.”


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