Dundas Street acts for the 20 District Health Boards across NZ through the shared services agency which provides industrial relations advice and centralised bargaining.
Bargaining with the NZ Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) for a new Multi Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) to cover the 3000-3500 junior doctors employed across the NZ DHBs commenced in early 2018 and by the end of 2018 had not resolved and strike action in 2019 ensued.
Dundas Street provided legal and strategic advice to the DHBs throughout the dispute. There were 5 strikes spanning 13 days and on each occasion we were required to advise as to the legality of the strikes and strike notices.
We also advised on the negotiation of Life Preserving Services agreements to ensure public safety during the strikes and supported the DHBs in disputes which went to adjudication.
Given the impasse in the bargaining the dispute was referred to the Employment Relations Authority for Facilitated Bargaining. Susan Hornsby-Geluk took over the role of lead advocate in the bargaining which took place over 9 days in the Authority.
The Authority issued recommendations for settling the bargaining which the parties accepted and this has become a template for several other DHB disputes over the last 18 months. Dundas Street continues to provide legal and strategic advice on all such matters.