PSA confirm second Auckland health strike


An additional day of industrial action for health workers in Auckland later this month has been confirmed.

The Public Service Association (PSA) has issued an official strike notice of a 24-hour stoppage on Friday April 15.

That is due to follow a four-hour strike on April 7, and a third day of industrial action has been proposed for April 22 -- though that has not yet been confirmed.

The dispute involves 3000 allied and technical staff -- health professionals like physiotherapists, pharmacists and dieticians -- and follows stalled negotiations over a new collective contract.

However, the PSA says its members will work where there is a need to provide emergency services.

Under the new contract the three Auckland district health boards propose to pay new staff time-and-a-half at weekends, while current staff would receive double-time pay.

The PSA says they should approach the Health Minister to provide extra funding to provide seven-day services.

"It's now clear the district health boards plan to offer physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work and many other services over a 7-day week -- and fund it by cutting pay to new staff," the PSA's Erin Polaczuk said.

The district health boards have called for the Employment Relations Authority to step in and help solve the dispute and avert strike action.

That hearing is likely to happen next week, before the first planned stoppage.