Country Hospital Workers Win Secure Hours

Country Hospital Workers Win Secure Hours

Anje has worked at the Kapunda and Eudunda Hospitals for nearly seven years. She and her co-workers clean, deliver meals, and provide a range of services at the regional hospital and nursing home.

“Some of my co-workers have been here even longer. Despite that, most of us had contracts of employment that didn’t reflect the work we were really doing.

“We didn’t have security of hours, and it meant we didn’t really know when we were working each fortnight.

“We did all the right things to try to fix this.

“We spoke to our management, but didn’t get anywhere.

“So I called my union, United Voice.

“They gave me advice, and helped draft correspondence seeking an increase to the hours in our employment contracts.

“Even though it was frustrating waiting for management to get back to us, we stayed strong.

“We kept at it, and kept in touch with our United Voice Organiser who helped us negotiate with management.

“Finally we received new contracts – but the hours were all over the place, and not what we were entitled to. One worker got the full 64 guaranteed hours a fortnight, but I only got 48, and some people were given even less.

“It wasn’t good enough.

“So I said I wouldn’t accept it, and we went back to the table.

“We all wanted to support each other. We stayed united so that we could all get the hours we needed.

“After that, they came back and gave us all new contracts of 64 guaranteed hours per fortnight – which is what we requested in the first place!

“That was what we needed.

“It’s taken more than 9 months, but now we all have the same guaranteed hours. It’s nice to have that stability.

“Now that we have security of hours, we can plan ahead. You know how much you are going to work, and you can plan your finances because you know you will earn a certain amount.

“Everyone is a lot happier, and we know what we’re doing and what to expect each roster.

Anje has some advice for other workers who aren’t receiving the contracted hours they are entitled to.

“Don’t take no for an answer! You need to fight for what you are entitled to.

“And make sure you get the union involved. It’s worth it!”