Auckland district health boards and the Blood Service are bracing for an escalation of strike action by medical laboratory workers next week.
Lab workers will strike in Auckland on Monday and Tuesday, at Counties Manukau on Tuesday and Wednesday, and at blood banks in Auckland and Waikato for two days each during the week.
Workers employed by 12 district health boards and the Blood Service have been locked in a pay row for several months over the renegotiation of a collective multi-employer contract. Until now they have mostly been involved in partial or shorter strikes.
The Medical Laboratory Workers Union is arguing for regional pay settlements, rather than a national deal.
The laboratory workers will withdraw their labour fully on Monday and Tuesday at Auckland City Hospital, Starship Children's Hospital and the Greenlane Clinical Centre.
They will also strike at Middlemore Hospital on Tuesday and Wednesday, and at the Waikato blood bank on Monday and Tuesday and the Auckland blood bank on Thursday and Friday.
Supplies still 'normal'
The Blood Service says blood supplies to hospitals will continue as normal..
Chief executive Fiona Ritsma says it will continue bringing in non-union staff from other areas to staff blood banks hit by strike action.
She says there should be no effects for the public from the strikes next week, but the future is less clear.