ERA to avert hospital strikes


The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) will step in to try and avert three hospital strikes due to take place in Auckland this month.

Three-thousand district health board (DHB) staff are threatening to walk off the job after stalled negotiations over a new collective agreement.

The agreement covers workers across 52 health professions including pharmacists, physiotherapists, dieticians and mental health workers.  It doesn't include doctors and nurses.

The ERA will hold a meeting tomorrow with DHB bosses and the Public Service Association to try and resolve their differences.

During facilitation employees are not prevented from using strikes and lockouts.

At the end of the facilitation process the ERA can make recommendations, the parties must consider them but do not have to follow them.

If no settlement is reached the first of the three strikes is due to go ahead on Friday.

DHBs have a contingency plan underway and the PSA says it will work with them to maintain life-preserving services.