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Who you gonna call? Telehealth workers rally for better wages

NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) and PSA members, employed at Whakarongorau Aotearoa New Zealand Telehealth Services, will embark on an hour-long rally on Friday morning following a breakdown of talks with their employer.

The rallies take place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

NZNO delegate Bruce Tomlinson said more than 300 NZNO and PSA members have been in protracted bargaining with Whakarongorau for months without many inroads.

Tomlinson said after more than a year since the previous collective agreement expired, Whakarongorau management had offered a paltry 2.5 percent increase for most workers, which falls far below the claim for a cost-of-living increase.

"This is a pay cut in real terms. Union members working at Whakarongorau have had enough. Our battle is over having decent wage increases, and we are committed to achieving an increase that reflects what we are worth and mitigates the cost-of-living crisis all our members face.

"Whakarongorau has offered well below this. They have refused to move and have not meaningfully engaged in many of our claims."

Tomlinson said the enterprise allegedly paid out $11 million to each of its shareholders - Pegasus and Procare - in the last financial year.

Whakarongorau employees provide immediate support to everyday people all across the country through services like: Healthline, 1737 Need to Talk?, Ambulance Secondary Triage, National Poisons Centre, GP After Hours, Earlier Mental Health Response, Shine Domestic Abuse Helpline, Diver Emergency Service Hotline, NZ Defence Force Mental Health Line among many others.

"We are literally the first line in many of the services we provide. We are the voice on the other side of your calls 24 hours a day, and seven days a week.

"It could be said that without us the inhouse health sector would fall over because much of the job is to either keep people out of EDs or away from GPs and refer them in a timely manner if needed."

The rallies take place at 8.30am and 4.30pm on Friday 1 September near the Whakarongorau offices in Auckland (25 College Hill, Freeman’s Bay), Wellington (36 Customshouse Quay) and Christchurch (36 Madras Street).

"Show your support for NZNO and PSA members who are standing up for fairness at work," Tomlinson said.

"You can also share your message of support with #thenurseweneed"

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