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New Zealand Blood Service workers strike against pay disparities

4 June, 2024

Interview by Jasmine Gray, adapted by Shane Tozier

Public Service Association Delegate, Sian Dallaway, says New Zealand Blood Service workers “cannot afford to wait any longer,” following months of pay parity negotiations which has led to strike action.

On 31 May and 4 June, over 290 New Zealand Blood Service Te Ratonga Toto o Aotearoa (NZBS) workers struck for increased pay similar to their Te Whatu Ora counterparts.

Currently, NZBS has a pay parity of 21% to 28% between their organisation and their Te Whatu Ora counterparts, despite undergoing similar responsibilities and pay having historically been aligned.

Despite pay negotiations between NZBS and the Public Service Association (PSA) having been ongoing over the last several months, Blood Service chief executive, Sam Cliff, says the organisation doesn’t have enough money to allocate to an increased pay.

PSA Delegate, Sian Dallaway, told 95bFM’s The Wire that Blood Service Workers can’t wait for pay parity any longer.

“People can't afford to wait any longer.”

“Seven months is too long to wait for New Zealand Blood and Te Whatu Ora to sort out funding.” 

“We have a lot of people who are really committed to the work we do. However, we can't keep [this up] when we're paid so much less.”

She says that lower pay means NZBS cannot afford to get more employees into highly skilled jobs that require a lot of training. 

Dallaway cites that just last month, four job offers by the organisation were rejected due to the lower wages.

Dallaway acknowledges the strike may have effects on patients but stresses that there are life-saving practices in place to mitigate serious harm.

She argues that disruption is a large part of what makes strikes effective.

“We do feel for the patients who may be affected. We wouldn't make this decision lightly but we don't have a choice at this point.”

Listen to the full interview

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air