Resident Doctors have now voted in favour of a third strike to take place 12th and 13th February, 2019, following the second 48-hour strike to be carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
“The failure on the part of the DHBs to withdraw clawbacks at mediation yesterday only strengthened the resolve of our members,” says David Munro, senior advocate for the RDA. “The resident doctors are committed and unwavering in their ongoing battle for a fair deal. They will continue strike action in defence of their collective agreement.”
“We are beyond frustrated at the fixed position of the DHBs.” says David Munro. “In effect, we took every claim off the table, but that was not enough. Whilst the DHBs will offer a similar pay rise to others received in the health sector, they will only do so if we give up existing provisions that protect our members.”
The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists has criticised the DHBs for refusing the Medical Council’s offer to facilitate talks in the escalating industrial dispute affecting public hospitals.
“As a regulatory body, the Medical Council rarely involves itself in industrial disputes. That its Chair, Andrew Connolly, has offered to help facilitate a resolution is highly significant and underlines the seriousness of the situation,” says Executive Director Ian Powell.
Mr Connolly, wrote to the parties last Friday because of his concern about the effect on public safety of the continued strikes.
“This is the second time that DHB bosses have rejected an offer to resolve rostering concerns through a non-adversarial process. Last September we on behalf of senior doctors invited the DHBs to work through these concerns with us and the resident doctors’ union collaboratively away from the negotiating table but they gave us the fingers,” says Powell.
“It is irresponsible of the DHBs to continue their winner-takes-all approach to this dispute with the objective of rendering the Resident Doctors’ Association ineffective in representing resident doctors. In industrial relations this is known as union busting.”
But DHB spokesman Dr Peter Bramley says DHBs have always “bargained in good faith” and were looking forward to discussions about how to reach an agreement.
“It’s hard to find a solution when the RDA is already balloting for more strikes in February – that’s hardly good faith and suggests it had already made up its mind to keep striking.
Bramley says hospitals have been making contingencies in preparation for the strikes and will notify any affected patients.