Strike action got underway this morning by more than 50 Waikato physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants over a break down in pay talks between their union APEX and the DHB.

Meanwhile the Public Service Associaation (PSA) is expected to announce this week that around 9000 allied health members – including physiotherapists – at the 20 DHBs have voted to ratify a deal built on the precedent setting NZNO nurses settlement.

Luke Coxon, an advocate for APEX said the union was “extremely disappointed” that its Waikato physio members had yet to receive an offer in writing despite being in bargaining since April this year.

“What is most concerning is that Waikato DHB confirmed on Thursday it was in a position to table an offer however the DHB has yet to provide APEX with anything. APEX has been available to attend mediation since the issuing of the strike notice but the DHB opted not to attend last week prior to the strike. Mediation is now set for Wednesday 21 November,” said Coxon.

Allied health PSA members – including physiotherapists – have voted to ratify a new collective agreement and the allied health members at the other 17 DHBs are expected to voted similarly with formal notification of ratification expected this week.

The allied health and technical staff agreements between the PSA and the 20 DHBs started negotiations late last year, including the tabling of a pay equity claim. The two agreements – one covering Auckland DHBs and the other the rest of New Zealand – cover about 9000 PSA members in the DHB sector within 45 occupational groups, including social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and anaesthetic technicians, with an annual wage bill of around $670 million.

DHB PSA Allied, Public Health and Technical MECAs: the details 

  • The last agreements expired late last year – the new agreements expire October 31 2020 so cover a three-year period.
  • A minimum pay rise of 9 per cent by November 2019 i.e. three 3 per cent increases for all members, with the first backdated to September and the second in November.
  • A pro-rata $2000 lump sum.
  • A new basic pay scale step 6 for all professions requiring a three-year degree (or equivalent) of $72,891, rising to $75,078 in November 2019.
  • A further additional progress scale (APS) step culminating in a new step 8 salary of $80,292 in August 2020 (the equivalent of 16.8 per cent for people on the current step 6)*.
  • A 1 per cent salary increase now for the advanced clinician/practitioner scale, followed by a further 2.5 per cent increase for most steps on the scale.
  • On-call allowances increase to $8 an hour and $10 on public holidays.
  • A commitment from the DHBs to exploring and progressing the pay equity claim. No commitment on an implementation date for pay equity.

*Currently the PSA Allied Health MECA has a five-step basic pay scale for three-year-degree-equivalent clinicians and a step 6 additional progress step of $68,707, to which most clinicians automatically progress, followed by a senior, position-based advanced clinician/practitioner scale that at present ranges from $72,772 to $100,168.


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