Staff seek backpay: Union taking Ramsay Health to court over workers’ entitlements

THE Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) is preparing to take Ramsay Health Care to the Magistrates’ Court to recover unpaid shift entitlements for mental health staff working at Mildura Base Hospital.

HACSU acting state secretary Paul Healey said the action followed the company’s ongoing refusal to backpay psychiatric enrolled nurses, psychologists, psychiatric support officers, social workers, occupational therapists and support staff their entitlement to a change of shift allowance. 

While Ramsay Health Care is now paying the allowance, the union is demanding a maximum six years’ backpay.

Mr Healey said the private hospital operator was refusing to backpay the workers legal entitlements.

The allowance is to be paid when the workers are required to change shifts across morning, afternoon and night. 

Mr Healey said the underpayments were discovered in mid-2011.

Health Minister David Davis yesterday said he was aware of the union’s action.

The minister said the government would not intervene and order Ramsay to undertake an audit of entitlements.

“It would appear the courts are a logical place to resolve this dispute,” he said.

“In Victoria, employment entitlements are a matter for the Federal Government and the Fair Work Act.”

Mr Healey said that it was an affront to hospital staff that a private company operating a public hospital for profit was withholding money that was rightfully their employees’.

“Ramsay Health Care is an international company who made a $178.5 million profit in 2010,” Mr Healey said yesterday.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Tuesday's Sunraysia Daily 21-8-2012.

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