A pay rise offer of up to 17 per cent for the lowest-paid union members is on the table after 18 months of negotiations between allied health workers and district health boards.
The 342 Public Service Association (PSA) union members from Northland could soon be paid above the Living Wage after 18 months of pay negotiations and a nationwide strike spurred DHBs into making a "decent" offer.
Northland sterile sciences technician Steve – who did not want to be fully named – is part of the PSA bargaining team representing allied health workers, including anaesthetic technicians, oral health therapists and alcohol and drug clinicians, said they made a "huge step" in their negotiation efforts.
He said the offer the DHBs made was worth presenting to the union members. They will get to vote on it between June 13 and 24. The results will be known on June 28.
"We are confident that the members will accept it," Steve said.
The offer would mean a 17 per cent pay increase for the lowest-paid allied health workers, with the ability to regularly progress up pay steps, and 5 per cent for the highest-paid.
This offer is almost five times more than what the DHBs initially brought to the table.
It also delivers on a number of other priorities, including safer workplaces and manageable workloads.
"This will contribute to the attractiveness of the allied health professions and the overall satisfaction and wellbeing of our members," PSA organiser Will Matthews said.
The offer was a testament to the perseverance of severely overstretched health workers.
"The collective power of union action certainly sharpens the minds of employers," Matthews said.
Next to pay increases, the offer includes two lump-sum payments and the two bottom steps from the lowest-paid scales for non-degree technical, allied assistant and clinical support workers as well as Hauora Māori workers will be removed.
Merit would be abolished for all steps under $60,000.
One major hang-up of the negotiations was a pay equity claim by the union.
A report by the Employment Relations Authority which was kept embargoed until this recent offer recommended a set of pay equity provisions including an interim pay adjustment and a lump sum payment.
While the DHBs didn't agree to the provisions, they offered a memorandum of understanding committing to addressing the provisions through the Pay Equity bargaining process to be settled no later than April 29, 2023.