Tuesday, 11 October 2011

CBH middle management again shows its incompetence.

Cairns Base Hospital administration and maintenance staff strike as pay rise dispute reaches boiling point

Damon Guppy
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Cairns Base Hospital executives were forced to empty bins, clean toilets and change beds when administration and maintenance staff stopped work for two hours to demand more pay and training.

About 100 clerks, cleaners, orderlies and specialist assistants staged a two-hour work ban to protest against the 2.5 per cent pay increase offered by Queensland Health. The unions negotiating on behalf of workers, Together Queensland and United Voice, are demanding a 4 per cent rise.

United Voice’s Cairns organiser Heath Mitchell told union members the offer was an insult to Far Northern health workers, who had to endure the "double whammy" of a flawed payroll system and higher costs of living, particularly in Cape York and Torres Strait communities. "The payroll debacle was bad enough," he said. "This compounds the whole problem. "(Premier) Anna Bligh needs to get the message. "She has an election coming up."

Mr Mitchell led a rowdy chorus of "2.5 is not enough – shame, Anna, shame" and said the work bans would continue until the Government "crumbled" and realised the plight of workers. Cairns and Hinterland Health Services District chief executive officer Julie Hartley-Jones said the work ban had no impact on patient care at the hospital.

"As with other health facilities, members of the district executive team and other staff are volunteering to undertake some duties such as emptying bins, changing beds, delivering linen etc," she said in a statement. Together Queensland’s Deb Pearson told the crowd their services were worth more than the 2.5 per cent offered by Queensland Health.

Queensland Health administration officer Klarika Tortely said the dispute with department heads was also over training opportunities, decisions to outsource work and working conditions that made retaining staff difficult. Queensland Health’s deputy director-general of human resources John Cairns said the department was disappointed at the industrial action.
"Despite extensive negotiations to date, unions have been unwilling to accept an offer to increase salaries by 7.5 per cent over three years," he said.

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