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John Key Urges Striking Radiographers To Exercise Restraint

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Auckland, Sept 3 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key is urging striking radiographers to exercise restraint during contract negotiations.

The radiographers walked off the job today for three days after 11th hour talks with the District Health Boards last night failed to break the deadlock in the contract talks.

Auckland radiographers won't return to work until Monday and on Tuesday will take part in a nationwide strike.

Mr Key said today while it was ultimately an employment matter between the DHBs and the radiographers, they should be mindful of other successful negotiations in the sector.

"The only thing I'd say is the same thing I said to teachers earlier in the week.

"If you look at it, in the health sector you've seen successful negotiations completed with doctors and nurses, and as a general rule we would urge significant restraint.

"This is a time when the Government doesn't have an abundance of resources to spare.

"Inflation is running at quite low levels under the historical norms, and we would hope that people would see sense and accept a pay round which is in the order of around 2 percent."

Auckland DHB spokesman Mark Fenwick said clinical staff in Auckland and Starship Hospitals were very busy and were worried they may not manage with the inevitable increase in patients over the weekend.

"Staff are under considerable stress at the moment, we are worried about how we are going to cope over the weekend when the sports and late-night injuries start coming in," he said.

Elective surgery remained cancelled as Auckland and Starship Hospitals try to reduce patient numbers to cope.

Starship Hospital director of health Richard Aitken said these were very hard to be rescheduled, and patients who had already waited a long time for their procedures could face long delays.

Bernadette Gourley, spokeswoman for the radiographers' union, Apex, said the workers had hoped the three-day strike action would not be necessary and that negotiations with the DHBs yesterday would result in a settlement, but these had been unproductive.

But the radiographers would go back to work if patient health was at risk, she said.

A nationwide strike next Tuesday is expected to affect hundreds more at hospitals throughout the country.

Mr Aitkin asked people to consider seeing their GP or local accident and emergency centre if possible.

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