Hospital support unions step back

23:00, Mar 26 2014

Threats of stopwork meetings by Palmerston North Hospital support staff and pharmacists have been put on hold while mediated bargaining gets under way.

EPMU and First Union representatives for staff including orderlies, pharmacists, drivers and store workers from across the country yesterday went into mediation after months of failed negotiations.

Stopwork meetings had been planned for April 9 nationwide.

First Union central region secretary Sheryl Cadman said members were pleased they could get back around the table to bargain nationally.

"The parties have agreed to recommence negotiations on April 7 with mediated support," she said. "There won't be stopwork meetings at this stage."

Store workers and pharmacists from MidCentral District Health Board had been told they would get a "miserable" increase of 1 per cent in the first year, paid in a lump sum, and 1.5 per cent in the second year. Ms Cadman said it was agreed at mediation that unions would go back to national bargaining, rather than negotiate collective contracts site by site.

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