In a landmark decision from the WA Industrial Relations Commission, professional, administrative, clerical and technical staff employed in WA’s public hospitals and health services will receive fair wage increases.
The HSU’s campaign for a fair Enterprise Bargaining Agreement had been referred to the Commission, following the Barnett Government’s refusal to provide WA members with pay increases comparable to doctors, nurses and other health workers.
Last year, doctors received a 3.75 per cent pay increase, with a further 3.5 per cent pay increase to follow later this year. The Barnett Government was asking the more than 16,000 professional, administrative, clerical and technical health workers represented by the HSUWA to accept a pay increase of only 2.75 per cent last year and 2.5 per cent this year.
The Commission yesterday awarded wage increases of 3.75 per cent, backdated to 1 July 2014, and 3 per cent from 1 July 2015. The Commission’s decision followed arbitration hearings held in February.
HSUWA Secretary Dan Hill said the Commission’s decision was a victory for fairness.
“This is a huge victory for our members and for the public health system,” said Mr Hill.
“By asking some health workers to accept lower pay rises than those awarded to people they work alongside, the Barnett Government was dividing its health workforce at a time when everyone needs to pull together to assist our health system through unprecedented change.
“We understand the Barnett Government has financial problems, but we didn’t believe our members should be asked to make a greater contribution to the recovery of the state’s financial position than other workers in the health system. In its decision, the Commission agreed with us, and we welcome this.”
Mr Hill also questioned the wisdom of the state government’s wages policy, which prescribed an arbitrary one-size-fits-all approach to workplace bargaining.
“This is the first time the State Government’s new wages policy has been tested through arbitration and it has been found wanting,” Mr Hill said.
“By applying a one size fits all approach to workplace negotiations, the Barnett Government fails to acknowledge the different circumstances and challenges faced by different workforces within the public sector.
“Our members campaigned hard to bring this issue to the attention of the Barnett Government, but they stubbornly refused to listen. We are thankful we have an independent umpire, in the WA Industrial Relations Commission, who could objectively consider the circumstances of our members.”