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Labour to blame for health strikes

Hon. Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health spokesman

Wayne Mapp National Party Labour & Industrial Relations Spokesman

29 November 2006

Labour to blame for health strikes

Labour's industrial relations law is to blame for the strike by laboratory workers which started today and which could threaten the safety of thousands of patients, say National's Industrial Relations spokesman Wayne Mapp and Health spokesman Tony Ryall.

"Labour's law is directly responsible for this strike and the increasing number of strikes in the past year," says Dr Mapp.

"In the year to June, we had the highest number of strikes since 1997.

"The complete failure of good-faith bargaining is at the heart of Labour's policies, and that is what has happened with the laboratory workers.

"Labour has made it illegal for employers to directly communicate with employees, and this is hugely disruptive to proper workplace relationships.

"Their preference for multi-employer collective contracts is behind most of these problems, including the threatened strike next month by the Service & Food Workers Union, whose members include hospital cleaners, kitchen and food workers, orderlies and home-aides.

"In government, National will remove these divisive union preferences and the 'us v them' mentality that Labour has brought to employment law," Dr Mapp says.

Tony Ryall says the industrial relations scene in the health sector in general is getting worse by the day, with staff no longer trusting the DHB negotiators.

"This is becoming a nightmare, and it is time the Health Minister organised a credible 'honest broker' to sort this mess out.

"The disruption caused by this strike, which is due to last for seven days, will be devastating.

"My fear is that it is not going to be the last, so we can expect even more patient disruption.

"It is time the Health Minister did something other than sitting by and watching it happen," Mr Ryall says.


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