Hospital staff take a stand

Protesters rally against privatisation

BENDIGO Health Workers Union have taken a stand against privatisation of health services in the city.

We need to keep country jobs for country people - David Eden

Union members say they are concerned local people will be forced out of their jobs when the new Bendigo Hospital is completed.

However Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder said the new hospital would boost the region’s economy and increase opportunities for local people.

More than 30 health workers came together at Pall Mall on Saturday to have their say.

The protest comes after Healthscope cut 10 jobs earlier this month.

Health Workers Union secretary Diana Asmar said Bendigo Health management had indicated to them that the new hospital would engage Spotless Services staff instead of having services performed by Bendigo people.    

“Spotless is coming into the organisation and a lot of jobs will be lost,” she said.

“A lot of hours will be reduced and services will be slashed.

“We don’t want a bus load of foreigners (people from Melbourne) to come through Bendigo, do the work and then get back on the bus and leave.”

Health Workers Union president David Eden said Bendigo Health staff had been approached to sign over to Spotless.

He said staff, including cleaning, maintenance and food services employees, would lose $16,000 a year in their wage if they were to sign with Spotless.

“It is disturbing," he said.

“We need to keep country jobs for country people.”

Mr Mulder said the decision for some services to be provided by a private company in the new hospital was a key element of the state government’s Public Private Partnerships model and not determined by Bendigo Health.

“Spotless has undertaken to provide any affected Bendigo Health employee who seeks employment in the new hospital with a job,” he said.

“The number of available positions is likely to increase as the new hospital beds come on stream.”

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