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17 June, 2020

Tablelands Hospitals affected by industrial action

From 6am this morning (June 18) workers that are employed by the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) will impose work bans over pay conditions.

By Phil Brandel

From 6am this morning (June 18) workers that are employed by the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) will impose work bans over pay conditions.

It’s believed that the work bans do not include doctors or nurses and only apply to support staff such as administration, cleaning, security and operations. The work bans are planned to be indefinite.

The Australian Workers Union (AWU) says that operational service staff have been leading the fight against COVID-19 and are owed a huge debt of gratitude for their work.

“Unfortunately, several months ago the Queensland Premier unilaterally announced a freeze on all public sector wages, including frontline health workers, without any consultation or discussion.” they wrote

“Cleaners, wardies, kitchen staff, laundry staff, security officers, and all other operational staff have made huge personal sacrifices to keep the community and their workmates safe. “

It’s believed that the government has agreed to pay AWU workers their 2019 wage increase with back pay until September plus a promised $1250 sign-on bonus on July 1 of this year.

The union is not happy about the 2020 pay rise being deferred to 2022 and that the government still has not certified their agreement, which means the promised payday of July 1 may not materialise.

The AWU is hoping to keep the pressure on the State Government and the Department of Health until the agreement has been signed off and the promised payments have been made.

Steve Baker who is the Queensland Branch Secretary of The Australian Workers’ Union said that “The Queensland Government has committed to paying this by July 1 - we’ll be making sure that they stick to this,” he said

“From the moment the Queensland Government announced a wage freeze, the AWU has taken up the fight on behalf of frontline workers right across Queensland for them to be paid what they’re owed.

“Legislating to cut conditions out of existing agreements is not something that the AWU has ever and will ever support.

“Likewise, we remain firmly against any wage freezes or deferrals.”

Mr Baker says that taking money out of local communities does not stimulate the economy or create jobs.

“We appreciate that the Premier has recognised the importance of not punishing those frontline health workers that have been leading our COVID-19 response and introduced commitments to protect frontline workers pay,” he said

“This is a significant step forward from just a few months ago when these same workers faced missing out on their 2019 wage increase and $1250 payment altogether.”

A Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service spokesperson said in response:

“The Australian Workers Union (AWU), who cover operational services such as cleaning, and security has given Queensland Health notice that they intend to take protected industrial action starting June 18. “

“CHHHS is implementing contingency plans to ensure that patient care and delivery of service is not affected. There is no action being taken by front-line clinical staff, such as doctors and nurses.

“The proposed action will not affect patient care.”

The affected hospitals include:

  • Atherton Hospital
  • Mareeba Hospital
  • Yarrabah Emergency Service
  • Mossman Hospital
  • Cairns Hospital
  • Babinda Hospital
  • Innisfail Hospital
  • Gordonvale Hospital
  • Tully Hospital
  • Cooktown Hospital
  • Herberton Hospital

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