Wellington Scoop

21 GPs striking again

News from Assn of Salaried Medical Specialists
GPs at Wellington’s Ora Toa Health practices will strike again tomorrow (Friday) for a full day because of the employer’s stubborn refusal to include dentists in the collective agreement.

This is the second full-day strike – the first was on Christmas Eve – and follows a series of shorter rolling strikes last month. Read more about them here: https://www.asms.org.nz/news/asms-news/2018/12/23/christmas-eve-strike-at-five-wellington-practices/

Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira has rejected a further compromise offered by the union, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

ASMS Senior Industrial Officer Lloyd Woods says the 21 GPs remain “absolutely determined” to stand firm on their resolution that their two dental colleagues should be covered by their collective agreement. At a stop-work meeting earlier this week, GPs voted overwhelmingly to continue the strike action, Mr Woods says.

Mr Woods says the union has offered to negotiate a new contract specific to the dentists, which would later be merged with the doctors’ collective agreement. This would allow the employer to insert clauses directly relevant to dentists. One of the employer’s stated concerns is that dentists are a separate professional group requiring specific terms and conditions.

“We offered to negotiate a separate contract to acknowledge the employer’s concern about having dentists and doctors covered by a single agreement and to find a way through this impasse, but they seem determined not to compromise,” Mr Woods says. “As with their other responses so far we find this very surprising and quite inexplicable.”

Also, GPs have offered to accept a lower pay increase in return for their dentist colleagues being covered by the collective, but this too was refused.

Mr Woods expressed regret for inconvenience to patients affected at the Cannons Creek, Mungavin, Porirua, Takapuwahia and Poneke practices, but noted GPs have been getting supportive comments from patients.