New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 12 March 2021
After ongoing negotiations with Labtests since September last year and mediation in late January, NZNO members have voted to take picket action and commence a 24 hour strike ballot
NZNO organiser Sarah Barker says the decision comes after members rejected two offers which failed to even bring the starting rates up to a living wage.
“Once members rejected the first offer of two percent, Labtests indicated this week they had another offer to present. This offer did not improve the base pay and in fact for some steps was lower than their initial offer, leaving members angry and disappointed.
“We have exhausted formal pathways to urge Labtests to come up with an offer that fairly values these employees”.
“Given they continue to undervalue staff, members have chosen to picket this Saturday 13 March at 2pm, outside Labtests head office at 37 Carbine Road Mt Wellington. We will also undertake a strike ballot.”
Ms Barker says the fact that the starting rates are not at a living wage is insulting given these are skilled workers providing an essential health service.
“Phlebotomists are regulated and skilled health care professionals required to hold practising certificates.
“They are essential frontline workers who are vital to patient treatment and diagnosis and yet by 1 April Labtests will be paying them just three cents above the minimum wage.”
She says Labtests is part of a profit-driven company which runs labs all over Aotearoa and holds several contracts with district health boards.
“Our lab staff are being exploited and they’re fed up. They work hard for our communities.
“COVID has surely shown us where our priorities should be. Labtests needs to ensure all its workers are paid well and that their starting rate is at least the living wage.”
Media inquiries: Hugo Robinson, NZNO Assistant Media and Communications Advisor: 021 194 3408.