19 Oct 2010

Lab workers plan more strikes at Blood Service

9:08 pm on 19 October 2010

Laboratory workers have announced they will strike next week at four of the six blood banks run by the Blood Service, and at its laboratories.

The notice of further industrial action comes as members of the Medical Laboratory Workers Union continue strikes at the Blood Service in Waikato and district health boards in Auckland and Counties Manukau.

They follow months of industrial action by medical laboratory workers over a lack of progress in pay talks with employers.

This week, blood banks are affected in Waikato on Tuesday and in Auckland on Thursday and Friday.

Lab workers will also strike on 27 and 28 October at blood banks in Christchurch, Waikato, Palmerston North and Auckland, as well as at the Auckland blood processing centre and two Blood Service labs.

Strike delays elective surgery

Health authorities say strikes delayed many tests at hospitals in Auckland City and Counties Manukau on Tuesday.

Auckland DHB says good planning reduced the number of times it had to call on striking workers to provide tests in life-threatening situations.

But Counties Manukau DHB says some people will have to wait longer for surgery postponed because of the strikes.

Elective surgery at Middlemore Hospital was postponed as union members in south Auckland went on strike at midnight on Monday, for 48 hours.

Workers earlier began a full two-day strike at midnight on Sunday, affecting Auckland City Hospital, Starship Children's Hospital and the Greenlane Clinical Centre.

They will strike again for two days at hospitals in Auckland and Counties Manukau on 28 and 29 October.

Union spokesperson Bryan Raill says members are hoping the strike action will lead to a fair and equitable pay deal.