Hospital staff call in union

ORGANISERS from the Australian Workers’ Union met with senior officials from Bundaberg Hospital and Queensland Health yesterday to address claims staff was overworked and kept in the dark by management.

AWU organiser Tony Beers said the dispute had been ongoing for several years, but came to a head late last year when workers passed a vote of no-confidence in the management.

“Since the Patel era, Queensland Health has been putting additional services at the hospital, but they didn’t put on the extra staff to clean, to feed patients and to move patients. It created enormous workload issues for staff,” he said.

Mr Beers said 150 people including cleaning, catering, gardening and theatre staff and orderlies were affected by the dispute.

“There’s a lack of confidence and trust towards management,” he said.

After yesterday’s meeting, which was also attended by Queensland Industrial Relations Commission deputy president Deirdre Swan, Mr Beers said workers had been given hope for improved communication and conditions.

“(Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District chief executive officer) Kevin Hegarty suggested some draft processes to aid communication, which will go a long way towards mending the differences between staff and management,” he said.

However, he said the union and Queensland Health management were still at loggerheads over pay for plaster cast technicians.

He said pay discrepancies of 30 cents an hour between plaster technicians could result in no after hours casts.

“It’s unacceptable to the union that the hospital is putting the good residents of Bundaberg at risk of losing their 24/7 access to a plaster service,” Mr Beers said.

Mr Hegarty said management from Queensland Health and Bundaberg Hospital were pleased with the discussions.

“The meeting was very productive and demonstrated a clear desire by all in attendance to continue to build a positive working relationship,” he said.



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