Three of the main unions representing workers in ACT Health have called for a one-off cost of living payment to be made to all workers before Christmas.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Professionals Australia and the Health Services Union are calling on the ACT Government to bring forward the $1250 payment that was to be given to 1700 workers as part of their Health Professionals Enterprise Agreement.
A revised enterprise agreement was offered in April 2023, with the one-off payment to be included upon the commencement of the agreement, but negotiations are still ongoing.
“ACT Health Professionals need cost of living relief before Christmas,” the unions said.
“The $1250 payment, which would be made before the finalisation of bargaining, would help our hard-working health professionals to make ends meet this Christmas.”
On 6 December, the unions jointly delivered an oversized invoice to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, saying the payment had been delayed due to what they claimed were “government delays”.
The payment would be for social workers, radiographers, radiation therapists, pathologists, psychologists, pharmacists and physiotherapists.
CPSU regional secretary Maddy Northam said the unions were calling on Mr Barr to extend a lifeline to health professionals by providing the cost of living payment before Christmas.
“This measure is essential to address the immediate struggles faced by our local health workforce in buying Christmas gifts for their families and putting food on the table,” she said.
“The Chief Minister has the capacity to help thousands of families around Canberra this Christmas. These are families that missed out on seeing their loved ones during the height of the pandemic.
“These are the workers that keep our health system running 24/7 for all Canberrans.
“To withhold their cost of living payment would be a failure to recognise the immense contribution they make to our community every day.
“With the stroke of a pen, the Chief Minister can make sure health professionals have the opportunity to enjoy their Christmas.”
Professionals Australia Organiser Daniel Griffin said health professionals in the ACT are facing cost of living pressures with “no relief in sight” as enterprise agreement negotiations continue into 2024.
“Our members have bills to pay that won’t wait for government delay. Today, the Chief Minister is getting a bill that won’t wait either,” he said.
Original Article published by Andrew McLaughlin on Riotact.