Pay freeze hits scared hospital staff


STAFF at Brisbane hospitals are considering taking action after their promised pay rises for last year were shelved last week.

After praising front line services, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk froze a promised 2.5 per cent pay rise on Thursday saying it was the sensible thing to do.

"In this climate, at the moment, everything must be put on hold," she said. "It's absolutely sensible and I'm quite sure other people are doing the same thing."

Together Union branch secretary Alex Scott told members, including nurses, administration workers and cleaners, that no strikes were planned and said it was still unknown what action would be taken.

In an electronic message to union members, Mr Scott said there had been no consultation before the state government announcement but said up to that point negotiations with Queensland Health had been cordial.

He called on the state to immediately introduce a promised enterprise bargaining deal for health workers of a 2.5 per cent wage increase, backdated to September 1, 2019 plus an extra $1250 payment, and other improvements.

He said union members at hospitals had expressed fears about their welfare and said they were still considering what action to take if measures were not improved to protect frontline hospital staff.


Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in QLD

He also revealed that no date was ever set for the payment of the additional $1250.

"Things can be better," Mr Scott said. "We are calling for continued meaningful consultation about service changes, personal protective equipment, safety and the necessary changes to how work is performed during a pandemic.

"We are also working towards more precise directions and clarity on how to support members who are vulnerable and at high risk from COVID-19.

"But industrial processes cannot be unilaterally shifted without any discussion by employers or via a press conference."

His requests to government followed claims by a Logan Hospital staff member who said he was told to take annual leave because of a previous chronic illness.




Metro South Health Logan Hospital staff say they are putting their lives at risk but have been denied a pay rise. AAP Image/Richard Walker
Metro South Health Logan Hospital staff say they are putting their lives at risk but have been denied a pay rise. AAP Image/Richard Walker


The hospital worker, who refused to be named, said he had been asked to stand down for an unspecified time during the coronavirus crisis.

"I have had a chronic illness but it is under control and I am fine to go to work in my admin position at the hospital," the staff member said.

"It is unfair that I am being forced to take annual leave when there is nothing wrong with me."

Mr Scott said frontline health workers were protecting Queenslanders and the household incomes of many public sector health workers had been hit hard by job losses.

"We have heard from members about partners, children and family members losing their jobs because of COVID-19 and the current crisis," he said.

"This means that - more than ever - public sector wages are keeping Queensland families afloat."

Originally published as Pay freeze hits scared hospital staff