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Strike over lost conditions and relativities

Waikato orderlies strike over lost conditions and relativities

Unite Union Media Release

Tuesday December 22

Orderlies who are members of Unite Union employed by the Waikato District Health Board at Waikato Hospital will be taking strike action on the day of Christmas Eve.

The possibility of strike action by the orderlies has been present for some time because little progress has been made in this year’s negotiations. In November the WDHB announced in negotiations that the parties had reached an impasse.

While supporting actions by other union members in the health sector - who have similarly been locked into a wage freeze - the orderlies have a special case because of the loss of wage relativities in relation to other roles in the hospitals.

Strike committee coordinator Ross Crook, who has been an orderly at the hospital for more than 12 years said, ‘We’d been putting up with certain things for a long time. The orderlies in particular feel that we’ve actually lost conditions over the years, so we’ve built up our own union on site to make some changes'.

Asked whether a strike is appropriate at the festive season Mr. Crook said, ‘We realise it’s Christmas but we want to highlight that this particular Christmas is going to be hard times for most workers. Working people are not being treated as we see fit, they just aren’t recognised for the work they do’. ‘It’s also about being really confident despite the hardship out there. For example, we’re all contributing bits and pieces to make it a good day for everybody, with a barbeque and music and drinks, non-alcohol of course! We encourage the public and other workers to come along to Waikato hospital and join us. We are making a positive stand for the majority of people this Christmas. All low-income people are welcome'.

The strike vote was unanimously endorsed by secret ballot and Mr. Crook promises a very visual and enjoyable industrial action. The strike will take place on Thursday 24th December from 8.30am and will conclude at 12.30pm. Unite Union has given notice for further actions to take place, beginning in mid-January.


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