Following consultation with members and delegates at Southern Community Laboratories, APEX has withdrawn the notice to strike for 24 hours on Monday 17 August 2020 at Southern Community Laboratories (SCL). The proposed strike was in support of bargaining for a fair pay offer from a strong and profitable private sector provider of medical laboratory testing. SCL runs all medical laboratories from Wellington south, excepting Canterbury Labs in Christchurch and the hospital laboratory in Westport.
“Although the SCL labs are not subject to Covid Alert Level 3, being all outside of the Auckland region, it is clear that the intensive ramping up of Covid testing will require the capacity of SCL labs in addition to the Auckland DHB labs and ESR. In this context the SCL APEX members have decided not to risk any disruption to testing that could have occurred due to their strike,” said APEX Laboratory National Advocate David Munro.
“Our members are very frustrated by the current situation. SCL is refusing to pay a minimum living wage, adequately deal with our pay equity concerns for phlebotomists and technicians, and match scientist pay rates to comparable professions such as teaching and nursing,” continued Mr Munro.
“Medical laboratory workers are at the frontline of the Team of 5 million in fighting Covid 19; they are proud of their role and committed to the work they do. Meanwhile their foreign owned private sector employer still won’t make a pay offer to match salary rates paid by the DHBs to laboratory staff.”
“Today our members decided to put the safety of the country ahead of their pay dispute, tomorrow we need SCL to put settling our claims for fair pay before their shareholders’ profits,” concluded Mr Munro.
Partial strike action at SCL labs will commence in the week beginning 24th August, and members are now balloting on a full day of strike action on 4 September 2020.