Telehealth workers to strike for fair wages

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Sep 14, 2023 |


Telehealth employees who take calls at Healthline, 1737 and other important phone services plan to strike for 24 hours from 3pm today.

NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) and PSA union members at Whakarongorau Aotearoa New Zealand Telehealth Services will down tools for 24 hours following a breakdown of talks with their employer.

NZNO delegate Bruce Tomlinson said despite paying out millions to each of its shareholders – Pegasus and Procare – in the last financial year, Whakarongorau claims they have no capital to fund a fair wage increase for its employees.

“This is why we are embarking on industrial action. The decision to strike was made because we have reached our wits end,” Tomlinson said.

NZNO and PSA members have been in protracted bargaining with Whakarongorau for months without any inroads.

“After more than a year since the previous collective agreement expired, management has offered a 2.5 percent increase for most workers, which falls far below the claim for a cost-of-living increase,” he said.

“The story is that despite having those big surpluses they cry poverty every year, promising workers a better increase the following year. This year is no different. At what point do they intend to share some of the profits created by the workers with the workers in a fair way? Inflation is sitting at 6 percent and they’re offering 2.5 percent, so essentially, they’re asking us again to take another loss in wages,” Tomlinson added.

Whakarongorau workers provide immediate support to everyday people all across the country through services like Healthline, 1737 Need to Talk?, Ambulance Secondary Triage, National Poisons Centre, GP After Hours, Earlier Mental Health Response, Shine Domestic Abuse Helpline, Diver Emergency Service Hotline, NZ Defence Force Mental Health Line among many others.

“We are literally the first line in many of the services we provide. We are the voice on the other side of your calls 24 hours a day, and seven days a week,” Tomlinson said.

Today’s rally from 3pm in Christchurch is at 395 Madras Street.

Furthermore, Chris Lynch Media has been told that Whakarongorau are currently trying to put a stop to the strike action through the employment court.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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