Protective Services Officers (PSO) at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) downed tools for an hour today, after repeated pleas for their employer to take their concerns about worker and patient safety seriously had fallen upon deaf ears.
Last month, United Workers Union (UWU) members, who make up the majority of PSOs at the hospital, overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action against their employer, facilities management giant, Downer (trading as Spotless).
Downer, which bought out Spotless, is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange 200 and recorded a profit after tax of $174 million last financial year.
Bargaining with the company had been ongoing for almost a year but Downer had so far refused to present an offer that would address the staff’s concerns.
UWU coordinator Damien Davie said short staffing at the hospital was a feature because there was no financial incentive for people to take on such a dangerous and demanding job.
“It’s completely unfair that the workers who put themselves on the line, to maintain order at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital are paid so much less than their counterparts in the public health system,” Mr Davie said.
“The workers here are paid pretty much the minimum, which when you consider the workload and the risk to their security, is quite insulting.”
“Downer have so far ignored the workers’ pleas, so we’re now calling on the CEO of the hospital to intervene before a crisis occurs on his watch.”
More than 1000 hospital staff and community members have signed a petition calling for the chief executive Peter Gillies to intervene to address the security and safety concerns taking place at the SCUH.
UWU members said they would continue to escalate action.
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]