Commission deny health workers right to strike

Even before the latest changes to Industrial Relations legislation have passed through Parliament, we are already seeing the effect of Campbell Newman’s anti- union laws.

Following ongoing enterprise bargaining negotiations which were going nowhere, health practitioners decided to ballot members on industrial action.

The industrial action, if agreed upon would take the form of four hour work stoppages at the end of November and would include radiographers, sonographers, dental technicians and many other health workers. However, the Industrial Relations Commission effectively denied the union’s application to ballot members at 28 hospitals and clinics because of impending changes to legislation. United Voice Health Co- ordinator Damien Davie said “The reality of the situation is that this government backed by the Industrial Relations Commission have not only taken away workers rights to strike but to be even balloted on industrial action.”

Mr Davie said “Health professionals are already stretched to the limit. With 10% of the workforce cut, they are struggling to cover the workload and they can’t take anymore.” Queensland Health has offered them the lowest enterprise bargaining offer given to any workforce at just 1.5% and this is in exchange for unrealistic cuts to conditions and allowances. Health practitioners stand to lose up to 23% of their wages but for them it’s not just about the money. As health professionals they are deeply distressed about the implication these cuts will have on patient care and safety. Mr Davie said the last thing they want to do is take industrial action but feel they have no other choice. United Voice intends to engage an independent entity to ballot members following the Commission’s decision.

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