Hospital staff go on strike for living wage

Waikato Hospital attendants hope their pleas for better pay will be heard as they go on strike.

Around 100 staff will picket outside the hospital on Thursday, asking for the living wage. Their tasks include transporting laundry and rubbish, sorting through mail and moving patients and specialised medical equipment.

The union claims they've been refused $20.55 because the DHB believes it's paying the rate when night and weekend pay are added in.

The strike, which started at midnight, runs for 24 hours.  It will involve pickets, with the first one taking place at 7am on Lorne St.

"Twenty dollars an hour is absolutely justified as a base rate for the work," said Unite Union national secretary Gerard Hehir.

" Hamilton City Council has embraced the living wage for all employees, the core public service has the Living Wage, but the lowest paid hospital workers are still denied it - go figure."

He said the DHB's own figures show nearly half of staff don't get the living wage even when weekend and night rates are taken into account.

Negotiations have been going on with the DHB since November.