NZ senior doctors to strike to change the rules

06-Jul-2018

Senior NZ doctors are to strike over improvements to pay and conditions that their union negotiator says should be a no-brainer.

It’s only the second time in memory that senior doctors anywhere in New Zealand have had to resort to strike action in order to be taken seriously, and it’s extraordinary that it’s come to this,” says Lloyd Woods, Senior Industrial Officer at the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

Our members have been very patient but negotiations have been going on since November and ACC just keeps on dragging its heels.

ASMS represents most of the medical advisors employed by ACC, who provide specialised medical advice on claims. Members have voted for a series of rolling stoppages for four hours at a time on a different day each week, for five weeks starting from Tuesday 17 July.

Mr Woods says their claims are very straightforward. Along with some other minor items, they want a redundancy agreement that matches what other ACC employees are eligible for, as well as a simple statement about the importance of staff well-being included in the collective agreement, and a 1% per year salary increase.

It beggars belief that ACC, with all of its aims, refuses to include a statement about well-being. This is a case of walk-the-talk. You can’t say one thing and do something else if you want to be seen as a credible, responsible employer. It should be a no-brainer for ACC to accept these perfectly reasonable claims.

He says medical advisors, along with other staff, already feel vulnerable as a result of ACC’s plans to disestablish a large number of positions, and the lack of progress in negotiations on their collective agreement is simply causing further frustration and stress. More strikes would be inevitable if ACC continued to reject claims out of hand.