Guards from the Long Bay Forensic Hospital will stop work for 24 hours this Friday, after being refused a cost-of-living pay increase from their employer, G4S.
United Workers Union (UWU) members, who make up the majority of guards at the maximum security facility, have been bargaining with the global security giant, G4S, since August last year and have taken limited stoppages but have so far been refused a wage rise that makes up for years of below-inflation wage increases.
The union has put in a notice for protected industrial action with the Fair Work Commission to begin a 24-hour stoppage, this Friday 23 February from 6:30am.
UWU coordinator Damien Davie said guards from Long Bay had been forced into a position where the only available course of action was to down tools.
“Workers have been trying for months to resolve the wages dispute through a campaign in which disuptions to the patients, the Long Bay Staff and patients would be minimal, as a show of good faith,” Mr Davie said.
“However, they’ve been ignored by their G4S bosses, who inisist that guards should continue to undertake the very important and dangerous job for extremely low wages. As a result, workers have been pushed to the brink.
“G4S have an obligation to the NSW community to properly reward and recognise the work of these guards who allow us to sleep at night knowing some of the State’s most dangerous are being guarded by workers who feel they are being fairly compensated for the work they do.”
UWU members at Long Bay Forensic Hospital said they would continue to take protected industrial action and campaign for as long as was required, including through raising issues with the NSW Government.
The Union has met with the Minister for Mental Health Rose Jackson to discuss the ongoing dispute and the need for fair wage increases to attract and retain workers at the critical facility.
G4S has offered workers a 5.75 percent increase in the first year of the agreement and 3 percent in the second year. UWU Guards are pursuing 6.75 percent increase for both years and back pay back to October 2023.
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]