30 November 2006
Health Unions Agreed Process Protects Patient Safety
"CTU health unions have provided the process for safe staffing to protect patients during industrial action, in accordance with international human rights and ethical standards. It is for the District Health Boards to manage the process competently and questions remain as to whether they have done so," CTU president Ross Wilson said today.
The Medical Council yesterday called for a ban on strike action by health sector workers. "CTU unions in 2003 voluntarily negotiated an agreement with District Health Boards which provides a process for protecting patient safety during industrial action. This has now been incorporated in law, with some modifications."
"National & Labour governments have for more than 15 years provided the right to strike and lockout as sole final means of resolving bargaining differences. The right to strike is a human right guaranteed by international law, and calls for a ban on strike action falsely imply that the breakdown of negotiations is always the fault of health workers rather than the employer." "The negotiated process provides for any differences between DHBs and unions in relation to patient safety arrangements to be finally decided by a clinical expert as adjudicator."
"In the current strike the arrangements have been agreed. If concerns remain they should be referred to the clinical expert who has been appointed." Ross Wilson said.