Strike was last resort for workers

HEALTH practitioners gave formal notice to the government of their intention to strike for 24 hours from midnight Tuesday, hoping the government would budge on their pay offer.

A range of Queensland Health (QH) services were affected state-wide with only skeleton staff available to assist with emergency cases; after the government didn’t offer a better deal. The strike was the largest strike of its kind at QH in many years.

Health practitioners (HPs), members of the Queensland Public Sector Union and Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, in every QH facility in Queensland were striking in a fight for the future of Queenslanders’ health services, the unions say.

“The future of Queenslanders’ health services rests in the government’s hands,” QPSU General Secretary Alex Scott said.

“It’s with great sadness and heavy hearts that HPs strike however they are left with no other option three months after their last agreement expired with no action from QH around these vital issues.

“Every day HPs are providing vital care for Queenslanders with serious injuries and illnesses, people in rehabilitation, children and grandparents who need support and unfortunately we have no choice, we must now stand and fight for better workloads and fair wages for Health workers.

“HPs would rather be conducting the vital blood tests, scans, hearing exams and other services that provide practical assistance for Queenslanders, including those with hearing problems, those who are injured and those who are fighting their own health battles against serious illnesses.”

LHMU Queensland President Nev Swan said HPs were being penalised for the mistakes of QH.

“With the recent announcement of a $210 million price tag to fix the beleaguered payroll system, my members can’t help feeling they’re being asked to make financial sacrifices to amend for the mistakes of others,” Mr Swan said.

He said being asked to accept an inferior pay offer and not have essential workload and service issues dealt was an insult to HPs, who had suffered through months of being paid incorrectly or not in the pay bungle.

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