Bathurst Hospital staff strike brings good results

BATHURST Hospital staff have had a “huge win” following a four-hour strike that saw around 150 people walk off the job.

Allegations of bullying, harassment, intimidation and safety issues were behind the strike which was supported by the Health Services Union (HSU) NSW.

At 9am on Wednesday catering, security and cleaning staff, along with allied health professionals, assembled in the hospital forecourt before marching to the intersection of Mitre and Howick streets.

HSU secretary Gerard Hayes demanded hospital and local health district management listen to staff complaints and make immediate attempts to rectify them.

“They’ve got two hours to get their arses out here to talk to us, to talk to you openly to standby with what their commitments are,” Mr Hayes demanded at the commencement of the strike.

“Lets deal with this openly in front of everybody, not sitting in behind closed doors.”

The strike begun as a two-hour stop work rally, but it soon got longer as management’s response was delayed.

Staff threatened a 24-hour strike if their requests were not met.

They called for an independent investigation into: bullying and intimidation claims, rosters being implemented without consultation, workplace health and safety concerns and incorrect pay.

As the strike entered its fourth hour, HSU representatives and hospital staff received the news they were waiting for.

A Bathurst Health Service spokeswoman said: “A cultural review will be undertaken by an independent consultant and senior staff from the district's workforce team”.

Health Services Union public health manager Dave Perry

She said all issues raised by staff were taken seriously and mechanisms were in place to facilitate the resolution of staff grievances.

Mr Hayes said the result was a “huge win” for staff.

“Individual grievances of an industrial nature will be investigated through a disputes committee process,” he said. “Cultural change, respect and dignity – I don’t think you ever have to pay for it, it is a normal human function and to see that not being exemplified at this hospital is a concern.”

No clinical staff were involved in the strike and staff returned to work at 1pm.

Patient care was not impacted during the strike.