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."