The SA Government is facing industrial action from health workers over an alleged privatisation agenda. 

The United Workers Union (UWU) has commenced work bans by public sector workers, including members in the health sector, to protest what it says is the Marshall Government’s failure to address issues with job security and fair wage increases. 

The union represents workers including hospital cleaners, orderlies, sterilisation technicians, food services staff, disability support workers and aged care workers. 

The industrial action was triggered by protracted enterprise bargaining negotiations between the state government and thousands of health workers. 

A “furious” Treasurer Rob Lucas said the action puts both patients and staff at risk. However, the UWU says its members are following the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s standard position that members should work bans unless it could compromise the health or safety of patients or the community.

The union’s public sector director Demi Pnevmatikos says 12 months of negotiations for a new enterprise agreement covering 7,000 South Australian workers have been fruitless. 

“We’re telling the South Australian Government our health heroes deserve to be recognised for the essential work they do,” she said.

“The Marshall Liberal Government has failed to recognise the essential nature of the work they perform, failing to table an offer addressing members’ reasonable claims of job security and a modest wage increase while maintaining their current conditions so they can get back to keeping us safe in this COVID pandemic.”

The union is seeking a backdated 2 per cent pay rise, as well as a guarantee to maintain all current conditions and job security.