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Time to get back to the table

MEDIA STATEMENT
MONDAY 20 NOVEMBER, 2006

Time to get back to the table

DHBs involved in the strike by Medical Radiation Technologists are hoping for an early return to negotiations.

"Now that the strike is over, we will contact the union to see if we can get back around the table as soon as possible," says DHB spokesman and CEO of Hutt Valley DHB, Chai Chuah.

"The union says there's enough money in our offer to get a settlement - it's still on the table and we're happy to discuss different ways of packaging it to get a settlement."

Mr Chuah says the same approach was used to settle the pay component of the Junior Doctors' agreement. "There's no reason why we can't do the same sort of deal here."

"MRTs have been on strike for a total of 15 days since June which has cost them 6% in lost pay. Our offer of 12% is still on the table and they should return to talks before taking any action that would further undermine the value of a settlement."

Mr Chuah says DHBs acknowledge that gaps have developed between the rates of MRTs in this agreement and their colleagues in other DHBs.

"Our offer gives most MRTs the pay rates they're claiming - which the union acknowledges. The biggest gap remains for a small group of about 20 MRTs where the union's claim would see pay rises of more than $20,000 per person - more than 40%.

"There are ways we can address the issues for these few people without striking and disrupting the care of thousands of patients. What we need to do is get round the table and talk through the options."

--

MRTs provide services such as X-rays, CT and MRI scans and ultrasound. This group does not include Radiation Therapists who treat patients in procedures such as radiation cancer therapy.

This morning MRTs ended a 10 day strike at - Southland, Otago, Hutt Valley, Lakes (Rotorua), and Bay of Plenty DHBs. At Canterbury, they'd been on strike for nine days. Last week MRTs were on strike at Tairawhiti (Gisborne) for five days.


ENDS

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