Dorevitch workers to get a pay rise

MORE than 600 Dorevitch Pathology workers, who went on strike in August last year, have been awarded a significant pay rise in a decision by the Fair Work Commission.

The Fair Work Commission terminated industrial action in August 2017, after the state government intervened in the industrial dispute, raising concerns about its threat to community welfare.

Health Workers Union secretary Diana Asmar said Fair Work had made a decision on Dorevitch employees pay and conditions.

“We are pleased to announce that workers will receive up to a 20 per cent pay rise, up to 30 per cent increases on allowances, and back pay to July 2017,” Ms Asmar said.

“This result is long overdue.

“The Dorevitch workplace agreement expired over 11 years ago.

“Our members have effectively been living with a 2007 level of income to pay 2018 costs.

“They’ve been left behind.”

Ms Asmar said the pay increase was a far cry from the zero per cent that was offered after a year of fruitless negotiations.

“Dorevitch has had to be dragged kicking and screaming at every stage in this process,” she said.

“Our members were forced to strike after waiting over a decade for a real pay rise.

“In response, Dorevitch locked out 89 frontline health workers — many single mums and middle aged women earning a little over $20 a hour, all because they dared to stand up for believing that they were worth more.

“This was a David and Goliath battle.

“An isolated and fearful workforce in a traditionally non-unionised sector that had their real wages cut for over a decade.

“It took court applications, strikes, government intervention, weeks of forced mediation, and years of struggle to get this outcome.

“Dorevitch Pathology workers were some of the lowest paid pathology workers in the country.

“It was unacceptable that they earn less than $21 an hour, given their level of importance to the community.”

Dorevitch is part of Primary Health Care Ltd.

In a statement to the market on Friday, Primary said that before any mitigation strategies, the decision had the potential to reduce its underlying net profit in 2018-19 by $4.5 million.

It said the Fair Work Commission determination on underlying and reported earnings for fiscal 2018 was estimated to be about $4.8 million.

“Importantly, the company aims to fully offset the impact through a range of mitigation strategies,” it said, but added that its pathology arm operated on a state-by-state basis, including different industrial instruments within each state, with multi-year agreements already signed in Queensland and Western Australia.

Primary noted the commission “made some adverse remarks” about Dorevitch’s historical approach to bargaining.

“Primary takes these matters seriously and had already made a number of changes at Dorevitch, including installing a new CEO [Malcolm Parmenter] in 2017,” it said, as well as promoting a better workplace culture at Dorevitch.