Senior hospital doctors and dentists who are members of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists will hold a series of stopwork meetings next month to discuss their stalled employment contract negotiations.
Stopworks will be held at every DHB starting on August 2nd.
ASMS has been in talks with DHBs since February to negotiate a new multi-employer collective agreement or MECA, but the DHBs have failed to put an acceptable offer on the table.
“We are asking for a very modest pay rise to simply reflect cost of living increases and inflation, but the DHBs continue to come back with a zero percent increase,” says ASMS Executive Director Sarah Dalton.
“We are very aware of the Government’s public sector pay restraint advice, but every worker has the right to at least keep up with inflation and not see their pay go backwards in real terms.”
Specialists are fatigued and suffering high levels of burnout as they juggle entrenched staffing shortages, overflowing hospitals and overstretched services which cannot keep up with patient demand. They have also absorbed additional pressures due to the Covid backlog.
A large part of ASMS’ claim seeks to improve working conditions and doctor wellbeing to try and address issues of burnout and safer staffing, but nearly all have been rejected by the DHBs.
Sarah Dalton says every New Zealander is aware of our full hospital wards, treatment delays and difficulty getting access to services.
“It’s time the Government started walking the talk on how much we value our health workers and treat them as an asset instead of a cost”.
“We need our highly trained and skilled specialists to stay and support our health system, rather than encouraging them to up sticks and move to Australia where they can earn up to 60% more”.
ASMS is interested in continuing negotiations with the DHBs and would urge them to come back to the table with a genuine offer worth considering.