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‘We’re at desperation point!’: 22,000 hospital workers to go on strike

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More than 22,000 workers will go on strike next month, over a “security crisis” at New South Wales hospitals.

The proposed industrial action was voted on at the Health Services Union delegates conference in Sydney today, passing unopposed.

Doctors, nurses, paramedics, admin staff and security guards will walk off the job on August 1, saying “workers are fed up with threats to their safety due to chronic underinvestment in hospital security”.

Two guards have been stabbed at hospitals in the last seven months among countless other incidents.

HSU National President Gerard Hayes tells Ray Hadley “we’re at desperation point!”.

“It’s becoming the wild west and it needs to stop and the government needs to intervene to make sure that hospitals are safe communities.

“It’s just disgraceful and we don’t take this situation lightly.”

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Ray Hadley has been working on the issue since police officer Luke Warburton was shot at Nepean Hospital in 2016.

He says he’s sick of hospital “staff at hospitals being used as punching bags by people who are there to be treated”.

“I wouldn’t normally support a strike of such important people as those in hospitals, but I’ve just got to the stage where it’s apparent the government is not taking any notice.”

Mr Hayes says the government has two weeks to meet their demands and avoid the strike action.

“They can make an immediate enhancement to security officers numbers.

“And we can make sure the security people in hospitals are trained to understand mental health issues, drug and alcohol issues.”

Paramedic and Health Services Union delegate Tess Oxley tells Steve Price she’s made to feel unsafe at work every day,

“We are faced with this daily now at work, there’s not a shift that I can think of that goes by where I don’t feel that I’ve been placed at risk at some stage.

“We’ve been raising this for years and the situation is not even getting slowly better, the situation’s getting worse.”

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