20 December, 2018
Efforts to avert a full-day Christmas Eve strike have failed, and further strikes are now likely, after Te Rūnanga o Toa
Rangatira again refused to engage with the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
Twenty-one GPs at Ora Toa Health practices in Wellington are taking part in rolling strike action to support their
dentist colleagues, who are excluded from the collective agreement.
ASMS Senior Industrial Officer Lloyd Woods expresses his apologies to patients affected by Monday’s strike at the
Cannons Creek, Mungavin, Porirua, Takapuwahia and Poneke practices.
He says he has negotiated in many workplaces over the years but has never encountered a similar attitude from an
employer. He made the comment after attending last-ditch talks with the employer yesterday (Wednesday) in an effort to
avert the strike. He described the attitude of Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira (Ora Toa Health) as “strange and
GPs were prepared to accept a lower pay increase in return for their two dentist colleagues being covered by the
collective, but this was refused.
“This meant that the savings through proposing a lesser salary increase for GPs would fully fund any costs to Ora Toa as
a result of the coverage of the dentists and, in fact, probably create savings. In effect the GPs would be paying for
their colleagues to be included as part of their medical team. We were very surprised and disappointed when this was
refused,” Mr Woods says.
It means the full-day strike will go ahead on Christmas Eve, and further strike action is now highly likely.
“We then went even further with a hypothetical proposal that would see the dispute finished without direct dentist
coverage but with them covered at an unknown later date. We were more than surprised when this too was turned down quite
forcefully,” he says.
Mr Woods says other employers would jump at the opportunity to offer a lower pay increase.