New Zealand radiographers plan to strike

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Saturday, November 4, 2006

250 New Zealand hospital radiographers are planning to strike this Friday for ten days unless they get a pay rise so they are paid the same amount as their peers at fourteen other district health boards (DHB). The DHB's say they will not raise their pay by 20% as it is unrealistic.

The strike will occur in the Hutt Valley, Southland, Otago, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury and Gisborne DHB. The strike will only last for seven days in Canterbury and five days for Gisborne, however.

The radiographers have already been on strike earlier this year, but it was only for three days.

They had first planned to walk off the job this Friday for five days instead of the now ten days. Deborah Powell, national secretary of the Association of Professionals and Executive Employees, said: "The length of the strike reflected the anger and frustration members felt with DHBs that had vetoed a mediated settlement."

Chai Chuah, chief executive of Hutt Valley DHB, said: "A settlement had not been reached and the union was wrong to blame the strike on the boards. He hoped industrial action could be averted by mediation next week. Meanwhile, hospitals have begun cancelling elective surgery and outpatient clinics.

The strike will mean that doctors will unable to do scans or get x-rays, unless it is life-threatening.

Next week there will be mediation talks and the DHB's are hoping that the radiographers and themselves will be able to reach a settlement before anymore disruption is caused.

Senior doctors are also planning to strike next year because their pay negotiations have failed. Ian Powell, executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, said: "Two-hour stopwork meetings would be held in February, in effect wiping out a half-day of elective surgery and specialist clinics at hospitals run by all 21 health boards. Full-out strikes could follow. Never before had senior doctors called for nationwide industrial action."