DHB Medical Laboratory Workers and NZ Blood Service employees who are members of APEX, have commenced long-term partial strike action in support of achieving a fair offer to settle their MECA (multi-employer collective agreement).
The action covers the most sophisticated medical laboratories in the country, including Canterbury Labs which will be responsible for testing for Coronavirus if it comes to New Zealand. The strike action ranges from bans on particular activities – answering phones, taking blood, participating in training – to refusing to process particular samples and undertake certain tests; and covers all DHB laboratories in the North and South Island and the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS).
‘This dispute has become more and more bitter as the DHBs and NZBS have made no effort to reach a fair agreement.’ says senior APEX Advocate David Munro. ‘We know the employers can afford our salary claim, because the increases sought will simply achieve parity with identical colleagues on a different collective agreement. The employers’ refusal to move looks increasingly like simple discrimination against this group of workers.’
‘The solution is simple’, says Mr Munro, ‘the employers need to act on their own rhetoric and make an offer that ensures that colleagues doing identical work with identical qualifications and experience are paid the same.’
The strikes run through to 5 May 2020. In addition, plans to Ballot for a ‘National Day of Action’ in March are also well advanced.