“Our wages and jobs are under attack! Stand up! Fight back!”
Service workers of the Strathalbyn Soldiers Memorial Hospital walked off the job this morning, October 13, to send a message to the state government that “hospital workers are here to stay”.
A group of about 40 workers, all members of the United Voice union, took to the streets to protest for their right to job security and fair wages, calling for jobs they can count on.
Negotiations between union members and the state government have been ongoing since February this year, and when the government failed to address member’s concerns, it ignited statewide industrial action.
Strikes have taken place around the state since August by orderlies, patient services attendants, kitchen workers, hospital cleaners, carers, and schools and national parks grounds and maintenance staff.
Strathalbyn resident and hospital worker Rebecca Reed, who led today’s strike, said staff were protesting for a fair wage increase and job security so that ongoing staff shortages can be addressed.
She said the government were refusing to “come to the party” with their job security.
“A lot of us are family people, we have young kids and grandkids, so we’re fighting for our jobs,” she said.
In this day and age, Ms Reed said it was sad that workers were forced to fight for what they needed most to survive in the world.
“It’s very sad that in in the 2000’s, that we’re having to fight to keep our jobs,” she said.
The group marched through Strathalbyn’s town centre from 9.30am and Ms Reed said the group had received a lot of public support.
“This is a community place and we’ve got a lot of community spirit behind us,” she said.
If the government continued to ignore the workers demands, Ms Reed said it would be devastating for hospital staff across South Australia.
“We don’t know if we’ve got a job and we need our jobs to survive, so it would be disastrous,” she said.
Workers are also calling on a commitment from the state government that there would be no new privatisation or outsourcing in the new Agreement.
A government spokesperson told The Standard that, in all negotiations, the Government had been committed to securing outcomes that are beneficial to employees and the employer.
“The provision of vital services to all South Australians is paramount… the Government continues to engage in discussions with all representatives,” they said.