Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Blood Service staff set to strike over stalled pay talks

Close to 300 lab workers, scientists, technicians, and administrators at New Zealand Blood Service have voted to strike after more than seven months of stalled negotiations.

The workers are set to strike for four hours on 31 May from 1pm to 5pm, and for 24 hours on 4 June.

PSA delegate, Sian Dallaway said the strike comes after months of negotiations with Te Whatu Ora.

“It’s extremely unfair for us to be paid 13% – 35% less than our colleagues at Te Whatu Ora for the same work, with the same skills and experience,” said Ms Dallaway.

“We waited in good faith for over seven months for NZ Blood Service and Te Whatu Ora to sort this out. But people are struggling with their bills now, and we just can’t keep waiting.

“We need to resolve this as quickly as possible, or blood services will be put at risk. The pay gap is pushing experienced colleagues out, and blocking us from recruiting new people in.”

The Union says lab technicians are paid between 22% and 35% less by NZ Blood Service than Te Whatu Ora lab technicians, while administrators are paid between 13% and 36% less. For scientists it’s between 19% and 35%.

“Everyone who keeps health services pumping deserves to be valued, no matter where we work. Patients rely on the administrator who schedules an urgent blood donation for their care just as much as they rely on the administrator who schedules their surgery,” said Ms Dallaway.

Despite seven months of talks, members of the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi still haven’t received a pay offer from their employer, she said.

“This massive imbalance can’t be allowed to persist, or our service doesn’t stand a chance of keeping the skilled people we need. Te Whatu Ora and NZ Blood Service need to sort this out urgently.”

The Union says members will work with their employer to maintain emergency and life-preserving services.

Strike action will take place in Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington Christchurch, and Dunedin.

Industrial action will also include:

  • Refusal to do work outside of paid hours from 29 May to 6 June;
  • A partial strike by refusal to conduct duties associated with processing AHF plasma from 29 May to 6 June;
  • Refusal to do overtime or extra shifts between 6 June to 19 June.

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