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July 6, 2022

Statewide health strike coming Thursday

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Health Services Union announce strike yesterday. Photo supplied.

The Health Services Union says thousands of health and hospital workers will walk off the job this Thursday to demand a genuine pay rise, as opposed to the pay cut being offered by the state government.

Affected workers will include ambulance, cleaning, allied health, admin, security, catering and wards.

The union says that despite repeated attempts to open up the state’s hospital awards and begin genuine bargaining for productivity-based pay rises, health and hospital workers have been left with no alternative.

The most recent quarterly figures showed inflation running at 3.5 per cent, with economists tipping it will hit five per cent within months. Under the NSW wages cap, public sector pay increase can not legally exceed 2.5 per cent.

Health Services Union NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes. Photo supplied.

HSU NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes said everything is going up except their pay, and workers are fed up.

‘Health and hospital workers are sick of mealy-mouthed rhetoric. We don’t need another politician thanking us for being heroes of the pandemic, we need a pay rise,’ he said.

‘When politicians and managers retreated to air-conditioned zoom meetings, paramedics, ward assistants and security guards exposed themselves to COVID, without a vaccine, and often without masks and protective gear. We did our bit for the community.

‘Now as the pandemic subsides, health and hospital workers are being smashed by higher prices and stagnant wages. The rent on a three bedroom home in Sydney surged 11.3 per cent in the last year. And everyone knows mortgage interest rates are set to double,’ said Mr Hayes’

‘Every time a hospital worker fills up at the bowser they’re being stung for more than two dollars a litre.’

Problem worsening

‘Unfortunately this tightfisted approach spills over to the private sector,’ said Mr Hayes. ‘If a therapist in a public hospital can’t get more than 2.5 per cent, how does someone in an aged care facility doing the same work bargain for higher wages?

‘NSW and the nation desperately need higher wages and this needs to start in the NSW health system,’ he said.

Thursday’s action includes:

  • A stop work meeting for 4 hrs from 10am-2pm at all major metro hospitals.
  • A stop work meeting for 2 hrs from 10am-midday at major regional hospitals including John Hunter, Wollongong, Gosford, Coffs Harbour, Murrumbidgee, Bathurst, Tweed and Tamworth.
  • Stop work meetings at all remaining regional hospitals.
  • Paramedics to stop work meeting from 7am-8am (emergency response unaffected) to vote on further industrial action.

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