CTU offers 'quite simple' advice to resolve action in Allied Health sector

It comes as 10,000 allied health workers walk off amid wage hike disputes

CTU offers 'quite simple' advice to resolve action in Allied Health sector

As thousands of allied health workers walked out their jobs on Monday, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) offered a "quite simple" advice to employers to prevent further industrial action within the sector.

"If you want to avoid further damaging industrial action, it's quite simple – just offer the union the same deal the facilitator proposed – all of it, instead of keeping your head in the sand and undervaluing your staff," said CTU president Richard Wagstaff in a statement.

His remarks came while 10,000 allied workers walked off their job on Monday to demand increased pay within the sector. The walk out was staged by the Public Service Association (PSA) and saw the involvement of workers from 70 different professions, Radio New Zealand reported.

It appears to be the climax of the ongoing 18-month-long talks between the PSA bargaining team and the District Health Boards (DHBs).

The strike came after the PSA bargaining team rejected the eleventh hour offer from the DHBs for seeming to "disregard" the recommendations of the Employment Relations Authority.

"We made it clear to the employers that if an offer was made that honoured the Employment Relations Authority report, we would recommend it to our members," said PSA organiser Will Matthews in a statement before the walkout.

"Several government ministers have said publicly that they saw a resolution to the dispute through the recommendations of the authority. Yet what we have received today is a kick in the guts."

Read more: New Zealand Council of Trade Unions: ‘A zero-tolerance approach to misinformation spread’

Meanwhile, according to Wagstaff, it is important for health employers and the Ministry of Health itself to recognise the value of Allied Health workers, as they were at the core of the country's COVID response.

"They have patiently waited for 18 months to get a reasonable offer on the expectation that they wouldn't be penalised for it," said Wagstaff in a statement. 

"Their union, the PSA, even agreed to attend facilitation with a neutral facilitator and accept his determination, but still the employers remain defiant and opposed to reaching a deal."

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