Senior doctors who provide specialised medical advice on ACC claims have voted to strike as negotiations over pay and conditions enter their ninth month.
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists' senior industrial officer Lloyd Woods said the ACC medical advisers it represented had been patient but "negotiations have been going on since November and ACC just keeps on dragging its heels".
"It's only the second time in memory that senior doctors anywhere in New Zealand have had to resort to strike action in order to be taken seriously, and it's extraordinary that it's come to this," he said.
The 39 members had agreed on a series of rolling stoppages for four hours at a time on a different day each week, for five weeks starting from July 17.
Woods said they wanted a redundancy agreement that matched what other ACC employees were eligible for, a simple statement about the importance of staff wellbeing included in the collective agreement and a 1 per cent per year salary increase.
"It beggars belief that ACC, with all of its aims, refuses to include a statement about wellbeing. It should be a no-brainer for ACC to accept these perfectly reasonable claims."
He said medical advisers, along with other staff, already felt vulnerable because of ACC's plans to disestablish a large number of positions and the lack of progress in negotiations on their collective agreement was simply causing further frustration and stress.
In May ACC held briefings where staff were told the organisation planned to cut its medical advisory staff by 20 per cent.
An ACC spokesman said the organisation was disappointed not to have reached an agreement and was continuing negotiations.
"The main reason negotiations have stalled is ASMS claims for salary increases and redundancy provisions are over and above those offered to other ACC employees," he said.
"We acknowledge there have been challenges along the way, but genuinely want to come to a fair and reasonable settlement for both parties."
This comes as nurses are in the process of voting on whether to continue with strike action or accept the fourth offer district health boards have presented them with.
Teachers and principals also yesterday voted to strike over failed contract negotiations while Inland Revenue and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment staff have also decided to take industrial action.