Union hits back at DHB criticism of industrial action

8:36 am on 26 September 2010

The union representing laboratory workers in Canterbury has responded to criticism from the District Health Board over industrial action planned for October.

The DHB says the staff are still dealing with the physical and psychological impact of the earthquake in the region on 4 September, but the union says life has returned to normal in Christchurch for laboratory workers.

Canterbury Health Laboratories general manager Trevor English, says the proposed action is mean, with local people already under a lot of pressure dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake in the region on 4 September.

Trevor English says the union should resume negotions with the district health boards.

Medical Laboratory Workers' Union president Stewart Smith says the industrial action does not involve workers going on strike, and patients in Canterbury needing lab tests won't be affected at all.

Mr Smith says union members will refuse to do some external tasks, such as tests on any animal samples - work he says raises money for the DHB.

He says the union simply wants the DHB to come back to negotiations which began in November.

Members of the Medical Laboratory Workers Union have been engaged in partial and full strike action for months in their pay dispute with 13 District Health Boards and the New Zealand Blood Service.