Junior doctors in Christchurch have won the right to be consulted over whether they get pre-packaged drinks with their free meals.
The board has provided free meals for 50 years, and by removing the drinks would save at least $250,000 a year.
The Employment Relations Authority has ruled the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) breached its obligations as an employer when it removed the drinks without consultation.
It ordered the board to consult the Resident Doctors Association about the decision.
A spokesperson for the association, Deborah Powell, says there had been no genuine attempt to listen to the doctors' point of view or to look at what else could be done to save money.
Deborah Powell says the doctors need bottled drinks to keep hydrated.