That’s right, they are the medical laboratory workers who collected, processed, and reported on Covid-19 during the national pandemic crisis, and saved thousands of lives. Perhaps not so well known is that 70% of those workers work for private laboratories run by Awanui Labs Ltd where a senior scientist is paid 33% less (that’s right, a whole third less!) than their identical counterparts in a Te Whatu Ora Lab.
Laboratory Workers at SCL Labs – part of Awanui Labs – in the South Island and Wellington region will strike for 24 hours on Monday 5th February 2024.
This strike will be a full withdrawal of labour for all APEX members – including scientists, technicians and phlebotomists – at all medical laboratories and collection centres from the Wellington region south, except for Canterbury Health Labs at Christchurch hospital and the lab at Grey hospital on the West Coast which are run by Te Whatu Ora. The strike also includes the Awanui Lab in Hawkes Bay.
The planned strike action is part of a continuing strike campaign (that began in July 2023) to secure a reasonable pay offer at collective bargaining.
APEX represents more than 80% of the workforce who fall within the coverage of the collective agreement.
‘Unless this yawning gulf in pay rates is fixed soon the New Zealand public health system will collapse as scientists and technicians continue to leave the profession in droves,’ said APEX Lead Advocate David Munro today. ‘It is no exaggeration,’ he continued, ‘you can’t run a hospital without laboratory services, and this profession is on a precipice.’