(CTN News) – For the first time, Inflation almost 5,000 senior doctors and dentists in New Zealand will go on strike on Sept 5 for the first time ever after pay negotiations failed, the union representing them said in a statement on Monday.
Sarah Dalton, the chief executive of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, said in a statement that the association is seeking a wage increase for its members to match inflation, and that the members have voted to go on strike after pay negotiations failed to produce results.
The New Zealand Health Authority has not even paid its senior doctors and dentists the bare minimum required to ensure that, for the third year in a row, their staff will not have to take a real-terms pay cut, Dalton said.
A two-hour strike is scheduled for September 5 of this year, followed by a two-hour Inflation strike on September 13 of this year, and a four-hour strike on September 21 of this year.
According to Te Whatu Ora Chief People Officer Andrew Slater, the company put forward a fair pay offer to the company and is disappointed that it hasn’t been accepted.
“Contingency planning is being conducted to ensure safe and appropriate care for patients in the event that action is taken,” the statement reads.
The strikes come just less than two months before what is expected to be a very close election for the office of the government on October 14.
There has been a lot of talk in recent months about how the Labour government will re-focus on Inflation issues related to rising costs and helping New Zealanders to cope with them since Chris Hipkins became prime minister in January.
In recent weeks, a number of public sector employees, including nurses and teachers, have settled their pay negotiations after government agencies have raised their offers to them, and the government has also raised the salaries of the defence force personnel.
Hipkins stated in his weekly press conference last week that he didn’t want to see any medical professionals going on Inflation strike and that the government would work in good faith to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.