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Last-minute Efforts To Avert Strike Fails

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, Sept 2 NZPA - Eleventh hour talks aimed at averting a nationwide strike by radiographers next week appear to have failed.

Representatives of the country's district health boards (DHBs) met with the radiographers' union Apex in Auckland today in an effort to avert a strike next Tuesday.

That planned action would be on top of a three-day strike planned for Auckland Hospital and Starship Children's Hospital tomorrow.

A statement from the DHBs indicated that Apex and the DHBs explored proposals aimed at settling the dispute this afternoon.

"The parties met in bargaining and explored proposals that were aimed at settling the negotiations. The DHBs and Apex remain apart with the key issue for DHBs being the affordability of the union's claims for settlement," the statement said.

"The DHBs are disappointed in Apex's continued inability to understand the DHBs' financial constraints. The strikes will continue, which is disappointing for the DHBs, but contingency planning is well advanced."

The industrial action in Auckland, due to begin tomorrow morning, has already prompted the cancellation of all elective surgery at Auckland Hospital, affecting more than 500 people.

The impact would potentially be made worse for 36 hours from 5pm on Saturday when southbound lanes of the Newmarket Viaduct are closed.

The viaduct is a key part of Auckland's Southern Motorway and is used by many motorists looking to access both Starship and Auckland Hospitals, and the closure would make it difficult for ambulances to get to the hospitals.

People were asked to consider seeing their GP or local accident and emergency centre if possible.

Radiographers had agreed on two pay increases of 1 percent by October prior to today's meeting, but other issues were still on the table.

Apex and the DHBs were also due to discuss provision for life-preserving services during the strikes.

Spokespeople for Apex and the Auckland DHBs could not be contacted for comment.

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