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The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) is the professional association and union uniting doctors and dentists in New Zealand.

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Historic strike planned as Ora Toa GPs show solidarity with dentists

4 December 2018 Simon Maude - New Zealand Doctor

PHO’s refusal to let dentists join a collective agreement has triggered what is believed to be New Zealand’s firstever strike by GPs.

Twenty-one GPs employed by Ora Toa PHO at five Wellington region practices willtake industrial action on six dates.

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists senior industrial officer Lloyd Woods says GPs will hold five one-hour stoppages from 9am on 7, 10, 13, 18 and 19 December, followed by a fullday Christmas Eve strike.

Ora Toa won’t let the GPs’ two dental colleagues join the collective agreement negotiated by ASMS, Mr Woods says in a media release.

“Ora Toa’s refusal is inexplicable and unfair,” he saysThe collective agreement provides important protections for GPs and of course their dental colleagues should be equally protected.”

Various other organisations that employ doctors and dentist include both in thecollective agreement negotiated with the 20 DHBs.

Almost all of Ora Toa’s GPs belong to ASMS, as do the two dentists, and both groups overwhelmingly voted for the strike, Mr Woods says.

He believes the salaried GPs’ strike is a first in New Zealand – a “first no one wants”.

“This was obviously a difficult decision for these doctors to make, so it reflects the strength of feeling in those practices,” he says.

Strike times have been planned to minimise disruption to patients.

Mr Woods says Ora Toa prides itself on striving for equity treating some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities, yet won’t grant GP benefits to its dentists.

New Zealand Doctor has approached the PHO and its owner, Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira, for comment.