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‘Drowning’: Workers demand fairer pay

Hospital and education workers stopped work to demand fairer pay from the WA government. Picture: Supplied
Hospital and education workers stopped work to demand fairer pay from the WA government. Picture: Supplied

Hundreds of staff have stopped work at two major hospitals, alongside education workers, taking action to demand a fair pay rise from the West Australian government.

United Workers Union members spoke out about the cost of living crisis, addressing hundreds of members who joined them outside Perth Children’s Hospital and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

The hospital staff have called for a wage increase that recognises the financial stress workers are facing.

“Without a genuine pay rise for workers on the frontline, healthcare workers won’t be able to keep providing essential services for their communities,” a union spokesperson said in a statement.

Perth Children’s Hospital support worker Regina Briant joined a protest alongside hospital and education staff who are demanding a fair pay rise from the state government.
Perth Children’s Hospital support worker Regina Briant joined a protest alongside hospital and education staff who are demanding a fair pay rise from the state government.

Hospital workers were joined by education support staff who held meetings across the state and wore red to highlight their campaign for a fair deal.

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The union stated they were prepared to take further action in the coming months if the government did not provide a fair and genuine offer.

A WA government spokesperson said they valued the work of all their healthcare workers and would continue to bargain with the HSUWA in good faith to reach a settlement.

United Workers Union spokesperson Lisa Judge said it used to take a major event like a death or a serious illness for workers to lose their homes or face homelessness.

Staff at Perth Children’s Hospital and Sir Gardiner Hospital stopped work on Wednesday.
Staff at Perth Children’s Hospital and Sir Gardiner Hospital stopped work on Wednesday.

“But, after five years of wage policies that barely kept them afloat, too many Western Australian workers are facing financial disaster,” she said.

“Nurses and support workers don’t expect to get rich working in public hospitals, but they certainly shouldn’t expect to be worse off every year.

“The last pay rise barely kept workers above water, and now they’re close to drowning again.

“These workers deserve a pay rise that keeps up with the cost of living, and are calling on the state government to give them a fair deal.”

Hundreds of staff protested outside Perth Children’s Hospital.
Hundreds of staff protested outside Perth Children’s Hospital.

Perth Children’s Hospital support worker Arinic said hospitals would stop without its workforce and patients would not receive the care they needed.

“We love our jobs, but we need to be respected. All we’re asking is for the government to pay us like they think our work matters,” she said.

Special needs education assistance Catherine said at her school, teachers rejected two offers and walked off the job to get the government to take them seriously.

“We hope it doesn’t come to that, but we’ll be ready if it does. I know the teachers at my school know our work is important, and they’ll have our backs like we had theirs,” she said.