FIONA Duncan and Ann-Maree O’Sullivan usually turn up for work at Dorovitch in Foster.
But they’re on strike and have been locked out.
“We feel really bad,” Fiona said. “We really care about our patients. We’re different from the city areas because we know the people.”
They say they have been forced to take action because they are doing it hard.
“We haven’t had a pay increase in 10 years,” Ann-Maree said. “All we want is to be paid the same as other pathology workers.”
The Health Workers Union (HWU) says 550 members have joined the stop-work action from 8.15am on Tuesday August 8, in response to the action issued on Monday evening.
The strike is protected action under s.410 of the Fair Work Act 2009.
The strike action and lockout follows a protracted pay dispute, with staff claiming they have not received a pay rise since 2007, and allegations Dorevitch have refused to move on a pay deal.
“The lockout notice was a tactic usually reserved by employers to use against militant trade unions,” said State Secretary of HWU, Diana Asmar.
“A lot of these workers are quite often single mums and sole income earners who have a formal qualification and who are only on minimum wage.
“Dorovitch are standing down random people, union members who are participating in industrial action, in an effort to intimidate the rest of the staff to get back to work.
They made $1.2 billion profit over the last 10 years.
“While these people are earning minimum wage, the executives of Dorevitch Pathology are rewarding themselves with massive bonuses.”
A statement from the HWU last week said:
“After a courageous display of collective action by over 500 HWU members at Dorevitch, CEO Neville Moller has disgracefully and predictably locked out 66 workers.
“The Health Workers Union, in the strongest possible terms, stands by the Dorevitch 66. A strike fund with a crowdfunding link will be live tomorrow.
“This is a lawful employee response action under s 410 of the Fair Work Act. Note: employee response action does not require any advance notice under s 414(4) of the Fair Work Act.
“Send a strong message to Neville Moller. Touch one. Touch all.
“It has come to our attention that Dorevitch HR Rebecca Bracko has sent an email to Dorevitch workers that wrongly suggests that walking out at 8.15am tomorrow is not lawful. She either doesn’t understand the law, or is deliberately misleading you. We have put Rebecca on notice that if she does not retract her email immediately we will commence proceedings against her in the Federal Court.
“Enough is enough.
“Nev. Time’s up.”
Another post on Facebook says HWU members are winning:
“Management is in full panic mode as services are heavily impacted across the State. You are worth far more than a 0% pay rise offer. Stay strong and united. Support your locked out work mates! Stay away from work tomorrow (strike ends 8.15am on Thursday).”
Dorovitch have responded by locking out even more workers leading the workers to continue the strike until 8am Tuesday August 15.
“We must stay strong,” Fiona said. “HWU awarded Dorovitch the worst employer of the year. It should have been of the decade.”
“There’s only one way to deal with a bully – stand your ground!” said Dianna Asmar.
A Dorevitch spokesperson told The Mirror on Monday that “Dorevitch Pathology is experiencing minimal disruption to services from the industrial action. A number of contingencies have been implemented to limit the impact to patients and GPs.
“Our laboratories are continuing to process tests and work with GPs to deliver results as per usual. There has been no impact to the services we provide public and private hospitals.
“We are asking patients to access our website (www.dorevitch.com.au) for details on any closure of collection centres and information on the nearest alternative centre.”