Southern Community Laboratories is continuing to suspend APEX members participating in partial strike action at its laboratories.


‘Members who are lawfully refusing to drive cars on lab business, or undertake non-urgent tests like Sperm counts, are being sent home without pay by SCL’ said APEX Laboratory National Advocate David Munro today.  These are the same employees who have been working long hours and extra shifts testing Covid-19 samples.


‘Not only are these workers not paid fairly, this is how the business that employs them chooses to show their gratitude for the extra efforts during Covid,’Mr Munro continued. ‘They force them to stay home with no pay.’


Minister Hipkins has signalled that the government expects yet another ramp up this week in Covid testing.  ‘Quite how SCL thinks that this aggressive stance will energise their staff to keep working over-and-above during the current crisis beggars belief,’ said Mr Munro.


An APEX member who prefers not to be named has told us how humiliating it has been to be escorted off the premises by her manager.

‘I think that they thought I would cry, but I held my head up high and my colleagues all applauded as I was forced to leave the building.’


Bargaining is set to resume on Monday 30 August and APEX has given notice of a twenty-four hour full stoppage for 4th September.



Contact: David Munro

Laboratories National Advocate


Mobile (027) 276 9999


What is a Medical Laboratory Worker?


Medical Laboratory Workers are registered health professionals who run laboratories and test, interpret and report laboratory results. They are trained to identify disease and abnormalities through studying blood, tissue and other bodily samples. Laboratory workers work ‘behind the scenes’ but remain an integral part of the health system whose work is vital to patient treatment. More than 90% of prescribed treatments require laboratory input to aid/confirm diagnosis or to monitor drug levels or disease progression.


Medical laboratory science is a bit like detective work. Workers look for answers to the disease ‘puzzle’ to help doctors diagnose and treat their patients. They answer questions such as: are these cells abnormal? What do these blood cells tell us about this person’s health? How does it fit in with their other symptoms? How much of drug ‘x’ is in this person’s blood? Is it working effectively? What bug is making this person sick?


Medical Laboratory Workers take on a high level of responsibility, often needing to make important decisions under pressure. Emergencies can occur at any time, day or night, so laboratory workers have to prioritise and use their initiative, often without much back-up. If the doctor needs to know the answer, they have to deliver. Sometimes this means working through the night providing results while patients fight for their life in another part of the hospital or a surgeon waits, mid-operation, for a phone call.


Responsibilities include developing, adapting and applying scientific methods of analysis and ensuring high standards of quality assurance. An understanding of the methodology and theory behind complicated, technical and automated equipment is essential, as is developing the skills necessary to identify and interpret abnormalities under the microscope or via other diagnostic technology. Laboratory workers are highly regarded and sought after worldwide.

Learn more about the APEX Medical Laboratory Workers division.

View media coverage of the Medical Laboratory Workers’ strike action.

Contact APEX