Monday, April 01, 2019

Unlawful threats and undue influence

Junior doctors are going on strike again, in an effort to retain safe working hours from DHBs who want to roll them back. And sadly, rather than recognising this is a serious issue and bargaining in good faith, the DHBs are resorting to unlawful threats:

The DHBs said doctors had to realise strikes have consequences.

"We've already told the RDA we would withdraw the lump sum payments that were part of our offer if there was further strike action while still talking," [DHB spokesman Dr Peter] Bramley said.

"If there is no resolution, DHBs will also need to carefully consider their position on the employment contracts to offer RDA members when they change DHBs on their next rotation."

Medical colleges would also need to review whether the lost work time had affected the doctors' training, he said.

The threat to change contracts for union members when they change DHBs is clearly intended as a threat of punishment for belonging to the union. And that violates s9 of the Employment Relations Act (which prohibits preferential treatment based on non-union membership), and may constitute the crime of undue influence. The threat to impact doctors' training certainly falls into the latter category. And quite apart from being illegal (when will the government obey its own laws?), neither is likely to help resolve the dispute. Instead, its likely to piss them off even more.