The Health Workers Union (HWU) is currently negotiating the next Victorian Public Hospital Agreement with the Victorian government.
This Agreement covers the classification and determines the pay and conditions of the health workers.
The negotiation sets the pay and conditions for over 55,000 Victorian public hospital workers. The current Public Sector Agreement expires on October 1.
Under the current Agreement, the Victorian public hospital workers receive a 14% pay rise over four years from 2016 to 2020.
“Hundreds of local Victorian public hospital workers deserve a 4.5% annual pay rise,” Diana Asmar, Secretary of the Health Workers Union said in a statement today.
“The HWU is pushing for an 18% pay rise over four years for our hardworking hospital workers,” Asmar said.
The new Agreement will cover the next four years. Under HWU’s proposal, the workers should receive a 4.5% pay increase from October 1, 2020 and 4.5% pay increase every year until October 1, 2023.
According to Asmar, Victoria’s hospital workers have proven their worth to the community.
“They are heroes on the frontline in the fight against COVID19. They are worth far more than what they are currently being paid, Diana Asmar said.
The HWU secretary mentioned as an example cleaners in a public hospital who earn as little as $23.80 per hour.
“They are doing God’s work. The community is relying on them to keep us safe and our hospitals free of COVID19. They deserve a decent income but they are currently being offered peanuts by the Victorian government,” Asmar said.
Nearly 90% of public hospital workers are covered by the Victorian Public Hospital Agreement. It includes cooks, chefs, food services assistants, patient services assistants, laundry workers, security officers, cleaners, ward clerks, receptionists, admin workers, theatre, instrument and pharmacy technicians, and maintenance workers.
“Without these workers, our public hospital system comes to a grinding halt. They have the respect of our community. We want to see them rewarded properly for the important work they do,” the HWU secretary said.
The Victorian Government public sector wages policy caps annual wage increases at 2%.
“There’s a double standard. If it’s good enough to give State Government politicians pay increase way in excess of their own 2% wages policy, then it’s good to pay public hospital workers a decent living wage above that same policy. A 4.5% annual increase is entirely reasonable,” Asmar said.
The HWU stressed that it does not accept the government’s 2% capped wages policy nor will it accept COVID19 as an excuse to not pay workers a decent income.
“Public health workers shouldn’t have to bear the cost of the Treasurer’s mismanagement (bearing in mind that the 2% wages policy existed well before COVID19),” said Asmar.
More information is available on the HWU website.
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