Pathology push for a better industry

  • Published December 18, 2023

At the HSU Conference in May this year, delegates in the Private Health Division got together to tackle a serious problem: the private pathology industry. Delegates resolved to conduct a campaign to improve the industry, once and for all.

Members working in pathology have an immensely important role to play. They are a vital step in diagnosis and treatment for patients. Their skills and professionalism ensure that people get accurate results on time.

During the pandemic, these workers put their patients first to deliver for the community, going to work day after day and putting themselves at risk while most people stayed at home. Without them, the spread of COVID may have been far worse.

Despite this, many employers in the private pathology sector don’t value their workers the way they deserve. Wages and conditions are still at a rock-bottom minimum throughout much of the industry. Even worse, the prevailing culture in private pathology workplaces is often very poor, with instances of bullying and intimidation from management at unacceptable levels.

In a recent HSU survey, 91.5% of pathology workers said they did not believe their rates of pay matched up with their qualifications, skills and knowledge. A further 89% said they didn’t feel the sector respected or valued the important work they do.

Clearly, something has to be done. But members are hitting back and planning a far-reaching campaign to transform their workplaces.

Wondering if workers can make real change? HSU members fought for better pay in aged care, and this year they won a 15% increase. They’re still fighting for more, but they know they can do it – together.

Private pathology delegate Alex Michaels said, “Pathology workers are critical to our health system. Despite the social importance of our jobs, we are chronically underpaid and disrespected by our employers. Building a campaign to change that will mean that we have a chance to fight for what we deserve.”