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NZ Blood Workers Plan 24-hour Strike For Pay Parity

More than 290 lab workers, scientists, technicians, and administrators at New Zealand Blood Service have voted to strike after more than seven months of stalled negotiations.

Workers will strike for 4 hours on May 31 from 1pm to 5pm, and for 24 hours on June 4.

People working at the NZ Blood Service deliver all major blood services in Aotearoa. They organise donation drives, match donations with patients, process and transport blood and blood products, and manage hospital blood banks for both public and private health services.

The strike comes after months of fruitless promises from NZ Blood Service that they’re negotiating funding for pay parity with Te Whatu Ora.

"It’s extremely unfair for us to be paid 13% - 35% less than our colleagues at Te Whatu Ora for the same work, with the same skills and experience," said PSA delegate Sian Dallaway.

"We waited in good faith for over seven months for NZ Blood Service and Te Whatu Ora to sort this out. But people are struggling with their bills now, and we just can’t keep waiting.

"We need to resolve this as quickly as possible, or blood services will be put at risk. The pay gap is pushing experienced colleagues out, and blocking us from recruiting new people in."

Lab technicians are paid between 22% and 35% less by NZ Blood Service than Te Whatu Ora lab technicians. Administrators are paid between 13% and 36% less. For scientists it’s between 19% and 35%.

"Everyone who keeps health services pumping deserves to be valued, no matter where we work. Patients rely on the administrator who schedules an urgent blood donation for their care just as much as they rely on the administrator who schedules their surgery," said Dallaway.

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Despite seven months of talks, members of the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi still haven’t received a pay offer from their employer.

"This massive imbalance can’t be allowed to persist, or our service doesn’t stand a chance of keeping the skilled people we need. Te Whatu Ora and NZ Blood Service need to sort this out urgently."

Members will work with their employer to maintain emergency and life-preserving services. Unfortunately, elective surgeries will not be able to take place without blood services running during the strike actions.

Strike action will take place in Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington Christchurch, and Dunedin. Industrial action will also include:

- Refusal to do work outside of paid hours from May 29 to June 6

- A partial strike by refusal to conduct duties associated with processing AHF plasma from May 29 to June 6

- Refusal to do overtime or extra shifts between 6 June to 19 June

Further information:

- NZ Blood Service is both a Crown Entity and Public Benefit Entity.

- PSA members work in administrative, scientific, logistics, and donor coordination roles. Their work includes processing blood products, managing stock and blood banks, ensuring blood products are transported safely and on-time, working with community groups to organise blood-drives, and booking, scheduling, and matching special donors for emergency situations.

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