HSU members in NSW Health Pathology have completely rejected changes being proposed by the NSW Government that would cut their pay and career progression opportunities.
The Ministry of Health first proposed these changes after the HSU uncovered a series of underpayments in NSW Health Pathology. Members who had been incorrectly classified were owed a considerable amount of money. However, they refused to correct the fundamental problem in classification that had led to the underpayment.
In December 2020, the Ministry of Health applied to vary the Health Professional and Medical Salaries (State) Award 2019 and the Hospital Scientists (State) Award 2019. Among other things, the proposed variations will create a new position of Medical Science Manager with four levels to replace the current classifications of Senior Hospital Scientist In-Charge of Lab, Senior Hospital Scientist In-Charge of Section and Chief Hospital Scientist.
To achieve this reclassification, the Ministry also proposes to categorise laboratories into three levels of complexity and use this categorisation to determine the pay level of the Medical Scientist Managers who work in these laboratories.
It’s deeply disappointing that the Government would seek to recoup backpay by implementing a cynical move such as this. They are rewarding the pathology workers who have formed such a vital part of the COVID response by limiting their pay and progression opportunities.
To impose such arbitrary limits on scientists is also to hurt the science itself. It beggars belief that, emerging from a worldwide pandemic that has already caused immeasurable harm, the Government would seek to nobble our pathology testing in the name of economising.
The HSU is opposing these cuts every step of the way. We’ve already arranged a number of mass meetings for NSW Health Pathology staff, and members are resolved to fight. The mood is strong.
Further campaign meetings and activities will be forthcoming as the HSU takes on this fight. Let’s put our faith in the science and push back against the cuts.