In an unprecedented move, nearly 5,000 senior doctors and dentists are preparing to embark on their first-ever strike on September 5th, following the failure of wage negotiations.
The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) Chief Executive, Sarah Dalton, affirmed that the association’s primary objective is to secure wage increases commensurate with inflation for its members. Frustrated by the lack of progress in negotiations, ASMS members have regrettably concluded that a strike is the only viable recourse.
Dalton remarked, “Te Whatu Ora, New Zealand’s health authority, has persistently denied senior doctors and dentists the assurance of receiving at least the minimum wage to counteract the erosive effects of inflation. This marks the third consecutive year of such inaction.
“The upcoming strike actions are set to unfold in phases. The inaugural strike, scheduled for September 5th, is slated to last two hours. It will be followed by a second two-hour strike on September 13th, and subsequently, a more extended four-hour strike on September 21st.In response to these impending actions, New Zealand Health Authority’s Chief People Officer, Andrew Slater, conveyed that proposals for equitable wages have been put forward, but they have been met with rejection by ASMS members.
Since assuming office in January, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and his New Zealand Labor government have emphasized their commitment to addressing the escalating cost of living and offering support to the citizens to navigate these challenges. Hipkins conveyed his concern regarding the impending strike, noting his reluctance to witness doctors resorting to such measures. He reiterated the government’s intent to engage earnestly with the issue in order to arrive at a resolution.
As New Zealand braces for the unprecedented sight of medical professionals taking to the streets in pursuit of fair wages, the outcome of these negotiations holds implications not only for the healthcare sector but also for the broader discourse surrounding labor rights and the cost of living. With both the medical community and the government expressing their commitment to a solution, the nation remains in anticipation of a breakthrough that ensures the well-being of its healthcare workforce and, by extension, the populace they serve.