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Radiation therapists – the unsung workers who help Queenslanders in their darkest hours as they battle cancer – went on strike today, calling out their employer ICON Cancer Centre for unfair treatment.

Today, more than 50 radiation therapists from South East Queensland walk off the job for up to eight hours as they highlight a pay difference of at least 25 per cent below Queensland Health radiation therapists who do exactly the same job.

“As our members say, their treatment by ICON is not so iconic,” United Workers Union National Secretary Tim Kennedy said today.

“Workers who are the human face Queenslanders see as they battle cancer should not be short-changed by a private sector operator with eyes only on the bottom line.

“Our members report that ICON is expert at keeping their wages low, but at what cost to the workers and to the extremely important work they do when patients are at their lowest point?

“Workers in the private health system deserve to be treated with respect, and that includes a decent wage that lets them cope with the cost-of-living crisis.”

Mr Kennedy said the strike action had been flagged with ICON in advance to minimise disruption for patients to the greatest degree possible.

Pam, a radiation therapist from Gold Coast University Hospital, said it felt like her vital work on the frontline of the health system was being taken for granted.

“As a radiation therapist, I’m on the frontline, using radiation to provide cancer treatment for patients who require it. We are responsible for everything from their planning session through to their daily treatments.

“We deliver a world class service in cancer treatment for ICON, but our wage increases haven’t kept up with inflation. Every year we’re falling further and further behind.

“We’re trying our best while we’re struggling and stressing about how we’re going to meet our costs every day.

“On top of that, we’re being paid a minimum of 25 per cent less than radiation therapists in Queensland Health who are doing exactly the same work.

“It’s hard to attract and retain staff to do our vital work when there is such a difference.”