WHEN: TODAY 1:20pm Tuesday 25 May 2021
VISUALS: WA health workers will be rallying out front of the WA Industrial Relations Commission
WHY: Multiple employers in WA Health are in breach of their enterprise agreement by failing to give permanent and secure jobs to health workers
WHERE: WA Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC), 111 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA, 6000
WHAT: The United Workers Union (UWU) and the Health Services Union of Western Australia (HSUWA) will attend a hearing in the WA Industrial Relations Commission
WA health workers will rally outside the WA Industrial Relations Commission today. United Workers Union and the Health Services Union of WA have applied to the WA Industrial Commission to enforce an agreement which instructed that State health providers must provide secure and permanent jobs for eligible workers.
One in three public sector health workers such as hospital cleaners, nurses, health professionals and orderlies are on either casual or fixed-term contracts while undertaking essential work in WA’s hospitals.
The unions have sought to address this issue previously through the WAIRC and through its Enterprise Agreement which contains clauses for pathways to permanency, but the State Government health providers have failed to comply.
The Enterprise Agreement was registered in January 2021 and provided for a three-month review period to begin transitioning workers into more secure roles. Since January 2021, UWU believes that only 428 workers have been reviewed out of the more than 3000 that are eligible for review.
Maribeth Hammond is a Primary Care Assistant in Perth Children’s Hospital, where she has worked for more than three years. After a long fight, Ms Hammond was finally made full-time permanent this year after being moved from temporary contracts and part-time contracts for three years. She said many of her colleagues are not getting the hours they want despite the existence of a staff shortage and the prevalence of agency staff in her department.
Quotes attributable to Ms Hammond:
“Many of my colleagues have come to me crying and really stressed about not being able to get more hours.
“Meanwhile we have lots of people from the agencies here working while the actual people who work for the hospital cannot get enough hours.
“Not having hours, or hours always changing really affects your mental health. I have seen many people leave because of it.”
Quotes attributable to Kevin Sneddon, United Workers Union spokesperson:
“Around 10,000 workers in the WA public health system are employed either on a casual or a fixed term contract basis and have no job security. Some of these workers have been in this position for years.
“The WA Government is failing to comply with the terms of our agreement and now involved in breaches affecting thousands of workers.
“We are seeing reports about a health system in crisis: well one way to address the crisis is to create more stability in the industry. This can be done by encouraging people to stay in their roles on a longer basis and through more secure jobs.”
Quotes attributable to HSUWA Secretary Naomi McCrae:
“With WA facing labour shortages, many healthcare workers will be forced to look for work elsewhere in order to pay the rent and bills and provide security and certainty to their families.
“Insecure employment disproportionately affects lower income families and leaves these workers unable to get loans or mortgages and further disenfranchises them.
“I call on the WA Government to comply with its legally binding agreement and ensure these essential workers are given permanent and secure employment.”
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]
HSUWA Media Contact: 0418 962 542, [email protected]