Dorevitch Pathology has told scientists and other pathology staff working in the Warrnambool and Camperdown hospital pathology laboratories that if they are offered a job in the new contract they will be paid up to 25% less than they are currently.

Offering local pathology staff, many of them with over 20 years of loyal service with the hospital, a job where they continue to do the same work, exercising the same skills for a lot less money is nothing less than gross exploitation and abuse.

The last pay increase in the Dorevitch Pathology industrial agreement the company says will now apply to the Warrnambool and Camperdown staff was on 1 July 2007.

Dorevitch Pathology is a company that has very aggressively locked its workforce in a wage freeze for 8 years, and now wants to bring this same level of exploitation to Warrnambool and Camperdown. This is unconscionable, and should not be allowed to happen.

The frightening thing for scientists and other staff is that Dorevitch Pathology has made it clear that it will be another 8 years before they pay any wage increase for pathology workers.

We are only now discovering that the CEO and other executive managers of South West Healthcare failed to include the normal requirements in the pathology contract tendering arrangements that protect jobs and wages and conditions of existing staff. John Krygger has effectively thrown the pathology workforce to the wolves and now hides behind the dodgy contract to say there is nothing he can do to help.”

The Andrews Government gave significant policy undertaking with respect to protecting jobs and terms and conditions of employment in any outsourcing of public sector services, including a requirement that “terms and conditions of work transmit with employees to the new employer and are maintained with access to future wage improvements.”

It’s only a matter of time before these scientists leave to find better paying jobs or leave the sector entirely, leaving a huge hole in pathology in Warrnambool and Camperdown. This will effectively diminish the standards of care being offered in the region as such highly experienced staff won’t be replaced.

The Union can’t understand why the Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, has allowed South West Healthcare to enter into this contract when it is clearly contrary to Government policy. The Union calls on the Minister to urgently intervene to protect these workers and stop this contract before it is entrenched.

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