This year has been tough for HSU members. With the NSW Liberal Government and the Industrial Relations Commission effectively freezing the wages of health workers at the height of a global health pandemic, it’s hard to imagine any more cuts.
In September, the HSU made representations on behalf of HealthShare Food Services members at Belmont Hospital regarding a request to backpay their shoe allowance. With 900 hospital kitchen staff receiving the allowance, it is only fair that staff doing the exact same duties should receive it too.
Upon receiving the HSU’s representations, the Chief Executive of HealthShare not only refused the back payment to over 3000 staff but has also sought to scrap the allowance for the 900 staff that currently receive it. Hospital kitchen staff have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. To deny our COVID heroes such a modest amount of compensation is beyond disappointing. Safety is of the utmost importance for hospital kitchen staff.
A shoe allowance ensures that these staff have the adequate shoe protection necessary to do their job. With HealthShare attempting to take away this allowance, HSU members are showing what footwear looks like without it.Food Services staff have been wearing different or unusual footwear at hospitals across the state. This action is designed to send HealthShare management a very clear message: their position that Food Services staff do not need to wear a special shoe for safety purposes is preposterous. Not only is this action denying hard working NSW Health staff $90 a year, it is also serving to discourage the use of an important safety item.
Member protests have taken place in October and November from a broad range of locations - including Westmead, Blacktown, Bankstown, Queanbeyan, Westmead Children’s, Port Kembla, Campbelltown, Coledale, Moruya, Royal North Shore and others. Thank you to the members who have already participated in the protest. Standing up for your workplace rights during the current industrial environment is no easy task, but it is a worthy one
The HSU will continue to support members and call upon HealthShare to rectify their position by committing to grant the allowance to all Food Services staff. In a time where health staff have been hit the hardest, it is vital that entitlements are maintained.
If you are a HealthShare Food Services member and you have not yet participated in the protest but would like to, please email firstname.lastname@example.org