The Guardian July 3, 2002


Queensland Government scabs on health workers

The Australian Services Union (ASU) has condemned the use by Queensland 
Health of long-term unemployed to undermine the industrial of nurses and 
other health workers. Australian Services Union Branch Secretary Julie 
Bignell said Queensland Health was using people on a Federal Government-
subsidised scheme to perform work currently subject to industrial 
action.

"Around 14 trainees with 100 percent wage subsidies have been brought in at 
Nambour Hospital to perform work that our members have placed bans on", 
said Ms Bignell.

"It is completely unacceptable for Queensland Health to use strike-breakers 
to prevent our members from taking legal industrial action in their 
campaign for better conditions and better hospitals."

The union has written to State Premier Peter Beattie calling for immediate 
action, and says the Government should be trying to resolve the dispute, 
not inflame it.

"The Premier says he's bargaining in good faith, but Queensland Health's 
industrial tactics look more like the waterfront than our public 
hospitals."

More than 16,000 Queensland nurses walked out a fortnight ago because of 
the Beattie Government's refusal to even discuss a pay claim of 12 percent 
over two years.

Now over 32,000 allied health staff are taking action over the Government's 
stalling on a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Ms Bignell said the trainees being used by Queensland Health came from the 
Job Network provider CADET Training and Employment, with a 100 percent 
federal wage subsidy for 14 weeks employment.

"Our understanding is that these people are being subsidised under the 
Federal Government's Intensive Assistance Program, which is designed to 
assist the long-term unemployed [not] fund industrial bullying", she said.

"It is simply unacceptable for Queensland Health to take advantage of the 
long-term unemployed in this way. The Premier must put an end to this 
practice."

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