Union vows two more days of industrial action after 66 workers locked out, including three in Bendigo

UPDATE 6.15pm:  Dorevitch declined to comment on Tuesday’s developments but pointed to a statement issued on Monday assuring the public there would be minumal impact to their services.

“A small number of collection centres may be closed today. We are asking patients to access our website (www.dorevitch.com.au) for details on any closures and information on the nearest alternative collection centre” the statement read.

“Dorevitch remains committed to its GPs, patients and staff as we work through this matter.  A number of contingencies have been implemented to limit the impact to patients and GPs.”

UPDATE 12 NOON: Over 500 Dorevitch pathology workers have walked off the job in response to a lockout, according to the Health Services Union.

The union has confirmed 66 workers were locked out following yesterday’s strike, with more workers walking off the job today to support them.

The union is preparing for a protracted fight, with union secretary Diana Asmar saying a strike fund was being set up to "help these (66) brave workers feed their kids".

“Over 66 workers – mainly middle aged women and struggling single mums – have been disgracefully locked out by Dorevitch pathology," she said.

“It is Dorevitch management’s legal right to lock out these poor workers – it is our Bendigo HWU members’ legal right to walk out in response.”

A person waits in the Dorevitch Pathology waiting area at the Arnold Street clinic.

A person waits in the Dorevitch Pathology waiting area at the Arnold Street clinic.

Ms Asmar said staff would also walk off the job tomorrow.

She warned industrial action would affect local Bendigo pathology services.

“Over 70 per cent of medical diagnoses – whether it’s diabetes or cancer  - rely on pathology services. These workers are doing God’s work. They deserve more than $20 an hour,” Ms Asmar said.

“They can get better pay working stacking shelves at the local supermarket. They respect their patients, and they’ve earned the Bendigo community’s respect.”

EARLIER: The Bendigo Advertiser understands the Health Services Union is currently meeting with three local workers locked out of Dorevitch Pathology after taking industrial action.

Workers were informed last night after walking off the job yesterday in what the Health Workers Union called a “long and bitter pay dispute.”

Fairfax Media has reportedly seen a list of 66 members of staff were named in the Employer Response Action, which directed them not to attend or perform work from 6pm on August 7.

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The strike action and lockout follows a protracted pay dispute, with staff claiming they have not received a pay rise since 2007. They claim to have been offered a ‘zero per cent’ pay rise by Dorevitch.

Fairfax Media has contacted Dorevitch Pathology and the Health Services Union Victoria No. 1 branch for comment.

MORE TO COME.