Liberals threaten SA hospital lockout
By Melanie Sjoberg
ADELAIDE — The state Liberal government has threatened to lock out workers who refuse to carry out full duties from Sunday, March 11. Cleaners and orderlies have maintained bans for over three weeks.
Management and office workers are carrying out cleaning tasks and meal deliveries. Hospitals have also been forced to call for volunteers from the community to prop up the services. Union bans have now extended to members working in TAFE areas.
The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union members are demanding an initial $20 per week pay rise, followed by $48 over the next two years. The latest offer by the government was for $15, which included the $8 safety net. The LHMWU is attempting to pull out of enterprise bargaining and obtain arbitration because officials believe talks will not achieve any results.
Earlier in the week the government attempted to have stand-down clauses invoked against union members, but the IRC refused.
LHMWU assistant secretary Noel Stait told Green Left Weekly that the government is treating this as a political dispute. "They have decided to have a crack at this union", he said. He described the government as paranoid about the effects of the dispute because it is mobilising workers against enterprise bargaining.
"The bargaining process is at an end. Industrial action is no longer protected, and the union wants the IRC to arbitrate", Said Stait.