ACC medical advisors on strike today

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17 July 2018

Media Release - ASMS

The majority of highly experienced senior doctors employed by ACC to assess medical claims have gone on strike this morning for improvements to their collective employment agreement.

The strike for four hours from 8am today is the first of a series of weekly rolling stoppages, says Lloyd Woods, a Senior Industrial Officer at the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“They’ve been patiently putting their claims before ACC for a small pay rise, a statement about the importance of well-being, and the same redundancy formula as other ACC employees – and getting nowhere.

“They’re run out of patience now and have taken the highly unusual step of going on strike. It’s only the second time ever, to the best of our knowledge, that senior doctors in New Zealand have downed tools.”

One of the doctors at ACC, who does not wish to be named, says:

“ACC has published vision and values statements, including: ‘People before Process’ and ‘Fair and Reasonable’ – echoing values I have lived as an ACC specialist medical advisor over several years. I care about people. Yet, even in mediation, ACC has blocked our three modest requests, with no counter-offer. It is stunning how under-valued this makes us feel.

We ask for three things: redundancy provisions matching those for 800 other ACC staff (ACC claims this is excessive), a 1% pay rise (ACC claims other staff have got less), and a simple statement in support of the health and safety of staff. Why would ACC refuse even that?

Another doctor at ACC, also speaking anonymously, says:

“Good Partners, Fair and Open, Safe Kiwis, People before Process, Good Stewards…these are ACC’s five core values. As an ACC medical advisor, I deliver on these every day. I assist ACC case managers to be good partners to injured clients, to be good stewards of our resources, and to provide fair and open management of all claims. This work puts people before process and strives to make for safe Kiwis.

“But today I will not be going into work. For the first time in 28 years as a doctor, and 14 years working for ACC I will be taking part in industrial action. Why? Because ACC, the organisation charged with the prevention, care and recovery from injury, cares so little for its workers. Sometimes you have to stand up and be valued. But when I return to work I will continue to uphold these values along with the case managers I support, even if these values are not currently extended to me.”

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