Junior doctors vote for second 48-hour strike at end of month after stoppage next week

Junior doctors employed by District Health Boards have voted for a second 48-hour strike this month.

Junior doctors, known as resident doctors, had already voted to strike from 7am next Tuesday January 15 to 7am on Thursday the 17th.

Now they'll also go out for 48 hours on Tuesday the 29th.

Their union, the New Zealand Resident Doctors Association, says "intransigence" of the DHB employers at mediated bargaining earlier this week has inflamed an already bitter dispute. 

Association senior advocate David Munro says the resident doctors "are more determined than ever not to accept clawbacks to their terms and conditions".

"This vote for a second strike testifies to their resolve," he said, adding the doctors "are clearly not going to be backing down".

The association says the strike action has been caused by the DHBs' "continued pursuit of clawing back terms and provision in the MECA (Multi-Employer Collective Agreement) some of which have been in the collective agreement for more than fifteen years".

Resident Doctors Association President Dr Courtney Brown says the DHBs' position means resident doctors could be moved to any hospital in the country as the DHBs see fit. 

The doctors could be required to work for more than 16 hours in a row, without guarantee of rest or safety, she said.

They could also lose access to education and training, "jeopardising the quality of care we are able to deliver to our patients, and a whole lot more," Dr Brown said.

The association is calling on DHBs to return to the bargaining table and offer "a fair deal" for resident doctors, "without a sheaf of clawbacks, like all other health sector workers have been offered in this round of bargaining".

District Health Boards are rescheduling surgery and outpatient appointments during next week's strike.

Junior doctors around the country are poised to strike, after the DHB's once again rejected their pleas for safer working hours.
Source: 1 NEWS