House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Constituency Statements

Workplace Relations: Dorevitch Pathology

10:12 am

Photo of Rob MitchellRob Mitchell (McEwen, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Do you know it's been over a year since 605 Dorevitch Pathology workers went on strike to fight decades worth of low wages? Finally, their fight for fairness has paid off. I first raised this issue in August 2017, but for the past 11 years, under the expired workplace agreement, workers have been fighting hard for their wages, yet year after year nothing was being done to help the pathologists. They who were living with 2018 bills on a 2007 income. So many Dorevitch pathologists are single parents and middle-aged workers, who were earning a little over $20 an hour, before banding together to advocate for a fair go.

In response to a very peaceful action Dorevitch Pathology locked out 89 frontline health workers for the high crime of standing up for their rights, making matters so much worse for those already struggling to make ends meet. On 13 September, the full bench of the Fair Work Commission finally delivered those workers a significant pay rise, with some pathologists to receive a pay increase of up to 20 per cent, with up to 30 per cent increases on allowances. They're going to be back paid to July 2017, which, for some of these workers, will take a massive financial burden off their shoulders. Throughout this campaign the HWU has worked tirelessly to secure overtime provisions, additional annual leave entitlements and strengthened dispute-resolution processes and has managed to extend paid parental leave rights, just to name a few of their achievements. But this latest determination has gone even further to secure the workplace rights of Dorevitch pathologists. On top of the pay increases, the HWU successfully fought to protect Dorevitch workers' sick leave, rostered-off public holiday benefits, accident make-up pay and the payment of pro rated long service on redundancy, which have all been confirmed.

Of course, none of this could have been done without the support and determination of the HWU and the countless hours of campaigning lead by this great union's organisers. I want to congratulate a few of them today because they deserve to be acknowledged for the hard work they've done. I want to congratulate: the wonderful Diana Asmar, for her vision and leadership; David Eden, the HWU assistant secretary, because of his tireless efforts to direct this campaign; and my old mate George Droutsas, the HWU's campaign and communications manager, who managed this successful Dorevitch campaign. I also want congratulate the mighty Ray Collins, the HWU's industrial organiser, who managed to quadruple the union's membership across 350 Dorevitch collection centres from 150 to 605 during this fight; Hiba Salem, the lead industrial organiser, who coordinated the manpower; Irena Spindler, the HWU's general manager, who calculated hundreds of hours of worker classification payments for this case; and, of course, Scott Crawford, the HWU's industrial manager, who led the HWU's case in Fair Work alongside Lisa Allcock, the HWU's industrial officer. Congratulations to everyone. This long campaign shows that without strong unions and collective bargaining ordinary Australian workers would be— (Time expired)