Ipswich Hospital workers threaten to strike
WITH Aretha Franklin's hit song Respect playing in the background, Ipswich Hospital admin staff gathered to protest their working conditions.
Hospital staff and leaders from health professionals' union group, Together, held placards, chanted and threatened to strike "closer to Christmas" after it was revealed negotiations between the union and Queensland Health had come to a standstill.
"We have reached the point where we're at an impasse and our members aren't happy," Together president Vivian Doogan said while speaking on the corner of Brisbane and Bell Sts at midday today.
"There are some really serious issues around job security and workloads.
"As soon as there is any sign of budget cuts (in health) there are budget cuts where positions disappear creating large workloads for those left behind.
"These people are dedicated to the work they do, they want quality services for people in the West Moreton Health system and they can't do that while they're doing three jobs.
"We wanted to be treated with respect and we will stand up and fight."
Ms Doogan said while admin staff were not considered "front line staff", they were the ones who kept the wheels turning in the hospital system.
"Front line staff can't do their jobs without the support behind them," she said.
"We want job security and for long term temporaries to have the opportunity to be made permanent and negotiators are not agreeing to that at this point in time.
"Being concerned about job security has a huge impact on people's lives, you can't take out a mortgage, you don't know whether you're going to have the money to pay the bills so it leads to huge stress.
"The reality is the members will take industrial action state-wide if this is not resolved."
An Ipswich Hospital admin worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told the QT it was common for staff to work up to 12 hour days simply to complete their workload.
"We have to just to keep up," he said.
"You run yourself down and it's something you're constantly thinking about.
"I hope Queensland Health comes to an agreement, especially when it comes to temporary workers.
"It's a very stressful environment and everyone's on edge."
A West Moreton Hospital and Health Service spokesperson said the hospital valued its employees and the care they provided to the community.
"Queensland's Department of Health is representing all of the state's hospital and health services in enterprise bargaining negotiations, this includes West Moreton Hospital and Health Service," the spokesperson said.
"It is not uncommon for unions to hold meetings for their members during the enterprise bargaining negotiation phase and today's gathering in Ipswich is similar to meetings held elsewhere in Queensland.
"While enterprise bargaining negotiations are still ongoing it is not appropriate for WMHHS to offer commentary on individual claims or discussion points."