Hospital workers rally in Brisbane ahead of 24 hour strike

STRIKE: Queensland Health maintenance staff rallied in Brisbane this morning. Photo: Supplied
STRIKE: Queensland Health maintenance staff rallied in Brisbane this morning. Photo: Supplied

Workers from combined unions representing Queensland Health maintenance staff have begun industrial action to prevent what they describe as the continued undermining of a critical part of Queensland's public hospital sector.

Unions called on members from across the state this morning to let Queensland Health and the state government know they have had enough of "sham contracts, attacks on their job security and broken promises on apprentice numbers".

Electrical Trades Union organisers said the issues being raised affected workers at Beaudesert, Logan and Redland Hospitals with all members from Logan and Redland taking part in the march

"These men and women who are the electricians, the carpenters, the plumbers, and the boilermakers are vital to the running of our health service, they provide safe environments for patients and staff," ETU Queensland and NT state secretary Peter Ong said.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the department was negotiating with workers and procedures were in place to ensure hospital patients would receive the best care.

"Queensland Health values the contribution each and every employee makes," the spokesperson said.

"We are committed to negotiating fair and sustainable outcomes with our union partners.

"Staff working in building and maintenance services bring unique skills to our services and are an essential component to ensuring our hospitals run smoothly."

The spokesperson said Queensland Health employed almost 40 apprentices from a variety of trades across the state.

"All of our health facilities have policies and procedures in place to ensure our patients continue to receive world-class care during times of industrial action."

The action included paperwork and administration work bans, and rolling stoppages beginning with a 24-hour walk-off during which only emergency maintenance work will be carried out.

"As with any and all industrial action, the members have not taken this lightly and it is through pure frustration at Q Health's refusal to fix the ongoing issues associated with reduced job security, sham contracting and broken promises on apprentices, our members feel they are not being listened to," Mr Ong said.

"The government has proven incapable of fixing Newman's mess, instead, the rorts, rip-offs, out-sourcing and shonky contracts continue. Maintenance unions drew Minister Miles' attention, in detail, to the rampant use of sham contracting arrangements at various hospitals earlier this year. In one well-documented case, the director-general resigned that afternoon, but since then the practice has continued unchecked."

"Q Health may care about the doctors, nurses, and radiologists, we all do, but it's latest offer to our members who keep our hospitals and health services safe and operating efficiently in often stressful circumstances is a kick in the guts and miles away from a fair go."

"Our message is clear, end the sham contract shame, employ Queensland apprentices in accordance with your promises and get rid of the shonky contractors who are eroding job security, costing taxpayers millions and putting patients at risk."