Fuseworks Media

Awanui Lab strike – further information

Those heroes were not just scientists. Medical Laboratory Pre-Analytical Technicians (MLPATs) and Medical Laboratory Technicians play a huge role in our laboratories.

MLPATs work in the labs themselves receipting and organising the analysis of samples, But most New Zealander’s will be familiar with them at their local collection centre when their GP has sent them for tests. ‘Our MLPATs take blood samples and other specimens in the collection centre. They tell us that the public often think that they are nurses and are paid similarly,’ said APEX Advocacy Lead David Munro today. ‘But of course, that is not anywhere near the case. The current rate for a beginning MLPAT at Awanui is $23.00/hr. Astonishingly, that is below what the government has announced will be the minimum wage from 1 April 2024: $23.15/hr’.

The comparison for an experienced qualified MLPAT after three years’ service and having to maintain an Annual Practicing Certificate, illustrates the challenge we face.

Year 3 MLPAT      Awanui Current       APEX claim    Te Whatu Ora Current

                                   $25.07/hr           $27.95/hr          $36.78/hr

‘The percentage difference between the current Awanui Rate and Te Whatu Ora is 46.7%. If Awanui accepted the most recent APEX claim that gap would reduce to 36.78%. That is still a long way off parity between Te Whatu Ora and Awanui,’ noted Mr Munro.

The Awanui business continues to hide behind offers based on current ‘going rate increases’ whilst ignoring their own unique situation. And this approach follows their $43M dividend payment to shareholders after their profit from the Covid-19 pandemic. 48% of that dividend goes to a Canadian Teachers Retirement fund.

The parties have now sought to have the Employment Relations Authority make a recommendation to settle the collective agreement. The twenty-four hour strike ceases at midnight tonight and is followed by ongoing partial strike action in Canterbury and Southland.


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