Anaesthetic Technicians employed at Bowen and Wakefield Hospitals in Wellington and Royston Hospital in Hawke’s Bay have given notice for a 24-hour strike that will begin the morning of Tuesday 27th of July. The hospitals are all owned by Evolution Healthcare, formerly known as the Acurity Health Group.
The Anaesthetic Technicians, who are members of APEX, have been in bargaining since May, but talks have broken down over pay amidst a growing workforce shortage. The company has offered 2% increases per year for two years, while APEX is seeking 5% per year.
APEX Advocate Luke Coxon says:
“New Zealand has an acute shortage of anaesthetic technicians, with surgeries now being routinely cancelled due to workforce shortages. Evolution Healthcare is chronically understaffed and struggling to recruit anaesthetic technicians. Our members are working nonstop, and gaps are being filled by locum agencies, whom the company has no qualms paying more than double what they pay their own staff.
Despite the glaring need for a fair pay increase to enable recruitment, we were only offered a 2% increase a year. Yet financially, Evolution Healthcare are expanding and can afford a reasonable pay increase. More importantly they must realise they need to do so to ensure they have the anaesthetic technicians to staff their hospitals and provide surgeries.”
The strike will result in nearly all surgery that requires a general anaesthetic being cancelled on Tuesday 27th July. Mediation will take place prior, and APEX is hopeful that an agreement can be reached, and the strike averted.
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Anaesthetic Technicians are essential members of the surgical team. They work mainly in operating theatres, providing skilled assistance to the Anaesthetist. Read about our Anaesthetic Technicians’ division here.