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Pay rise snub

Saturday, 22nd February, 2020

Hospital employees have received a win with a back pay in laundry allowance, but the Ministry of Health is still withholding pay increases.

The Barrier Industrial Council has contacted the Minister for Health’s office forwarding a petition with over 650 signatures, fighting for the 2.5 per cent wage adjustment.

President of the Barrier Industrial Council, Rosslyn Ferry, said she is yet to receive a response from Minister Brad Hazzard’s office in regards to the petition.

“The BIC has written to the minister and forwarded him the petition with 650 signatures,” she said.

“But we have received no acknowledgement or response from the minister.”

The petition asked for Minister Hazzard to direct the secretary of NSW Ministry of Health to stop penalising Broken Hill health workers and pay the minimum 2.5 per cent wage adjustment effective from July 1, 2019.

Ms Ferry is also calling on members who were, or still are, employed by NSW Health under the BIC Industrial Agreement to make contact with the union regarding their entitlement to be back paid the laundry allowance.

“It should be pointed out to date that over $190,000 has been back paid to current employees but a lot more is due.

“It shows how quickly a few dollars a week can grow into a significant amount over a period of several years.”

Ms Ferry encouraged employees to check their pay slips.

“Don’t take it for granted that it is correct, if you feel it is not - contact the health service.

“I’m happy to be copied into the correspondence. Be sure to get a written response.

“In the first instance, I advise employees to make a written enquiry to either the local pay office or to Fiona Lawrance, Director of People and Culture, and request a written response.  

“In addition, employees can email a copy of their enquiry to the union at unions@bhteu.net.au.”

In March 2019, NSW Health acknowledged that employees were entitled to the laundry allowance which had not been paid since 2012.  

NSW Health gave an undertaking before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission that employees would be paid the allowance, back dated to July 2012.

“Despite giving that undertaking in March last year, it wasn’t until late December that most current employees received any payment,” Ms Ferry said.

“Former employees, who were also entitled to the laundry allowance, are yet to be back paid and the union has not received any response from the Ministry to its enquiries.”

NSW Health also gave an undertaking to provide the union with the full details of its back pay calculations, for each employee, for verification.  

“To date, the union has only been provided with limited details for the first group of employees but has already identified  significant calculation errors for at least three employees,” she said.

The union is urging all employees to check their pay slips to ensure that they have been back paid correctly and, if in doubt, they should make direct enquiries to payroll. 

A spokesperson from the Far West Local Health District said the laundry allowance has been backdated eight years.

“NSW Health and the BHTEU reached an agreement for the payment of a laundry allowance backdated to 2012,” the spokesperson said.

“As at February 21, most staff have been paid the allowance back-paid to 2012.  

“Additional issues are currently being worked through with the BHTEU.”

The spokesperson said a new award has been developed.

“In order to provide clarity to these and other industrial matters in Broken Hill, the NSW Ministry of Health filed an application for a new Award to apply to health staff in Broken Hill. 

“That application is being heard by the Industrial Relations Commission in May 2020.”

The BDT also contacted Minister Hazzard’s office.

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