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Regarding PSA Involvement with the Specialist Trainees of NZ

On 5 September 2018 this joint letter was signed by a dozen members of the PSA from across the country and sent to the PSA Executive. As the PSA leadership have since publicly released a statement defending their support for the SToNZ ‘union’, we share the contents of the letter in the spirit of solidarity and open, free debate.

Regarding PSA Involvement with the Specialist Trainees of New Zealand

To PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk, the Executive Board, and all officials and members of the PSA,

We the undersigned, representing ourselves as individual members of the PSA, are gravely concerned about the apparent support given by the Public Service Association to the newly formed Specialty Trainees of New Zealand (SToNZ).  

We believe the formation of SToNZ is a transparent and indefensible move to undermine our brothers and sisters in the Resident Doctors Association (RDA), who in 2016 and 2017 successfully led an inspiring and just struggle for safer hours of work in our hospitals.

This series of strikes and public demonstrations by young doctors received overwhelming public support, including from PSA members.

While RDA members went without pay in order to lead one of the most significant industrial disputes under the previous National government, those represented by SToNZ instead crossed picket lines, and have admitted to doing so on public radio.

This is the opposite of solidarity.

The rationale for the formation of SToNZ boils down to this: a small group of workers do not want to be inconvenienced in any minor way, even if that inconvenience is to the betterment of the vast majority and sets a precedent for improved conditions of work.

The vast majority of junior doctors support the RDA and support the safe staffing measures won in the 2016/2017 strikes. Safe staffing can only be successfully implemented over time if it applies across the board.

The formation of an organisation which threatens advances made for safe staffing in any sector is dangerous, shortsighted, and damaging to the union movement as a whole.

For the sake of the PSA’s reputation as a legitimate organisation for workers, for the sake of solidarity, and for the sake of safe staffing levels for all, we urge the Executive Board to withdraw its support for SToNZ.

We do not support our union providing contract services to an organisation which seeks to undermine the collective agreement of another trade union.

We encourage PSA members around New Zealand to raise this issue with their delegates and organiser.

The founders of the New Zealand Federation of Labour said it over a century ago, and all decent unions still say it today: An Injury to One is a Concern To All.

ENDS

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