Healthcare workers' strike action moves to Auckland's largest hospital today, with a picket planned for Middlemore Hospital's main entrance.
Hundreds of unionised non-nursing and non-medical staff members employed by the Auckland and Waitemata district health boards have already gone on strike this week, protesting plans to reduce weekend penal rates for new staff and increase patient services.
Middlemore staff will strike from 8am to 10am today, the Public Service Association says.
Striking staff work in more than 40 different roles including physiotherapists, dieticians and laboratory technicians.
Andy Colwell, a mental health social worker and PSA representative, says staff are overworked and cutting staff incomes isn't the solution.
"Hospital staff are already overloaded and a new plan to stretch them across seven day services when we aren't even funded for five will drive staff to exhaustion," he says.
"To rub salt in the wounds, the DHBs wants to thank new staff for going the extra mile by paying them less."
The DHBs say staff are paid double-time for weekend work but they want to reduce that to time-and-a-half, which most other DHBs around the country pay.
"The change to weekend penal rates for staff who are employed in the future will support our ability to expand the provision of allied services to meet patient demand," spokeswoman Julie Patterson said earlier this week.
Hospital services are not expected to be affected by the strike.