Pathology staff locked out, take strike action

Updated: Dorevitch Pathology have taken out advertisements seeking new pathology collection staff.

Dorevitch Pathology have added more staff to the lockout list and extended the lockout indefinitely.

A Dorevitch spokesperson provided the following statement:

“Dorevitch Pathology is anticipating minimal disruption to services due to the one day industrial action occurring today (7 August). 

“There will be no impact to the services we provide public and private hospitals, and our laboratories will continue to process tests and work with GPs to deliver results as per normal. 

“A small number of collection centres may be closed today. We are asking patients to access our website for details on any closures and information on the nearest alternative collection centre.

“Dorevitch remains committed to its GPs, patients and staff as we work through this matter.  A number of contingencies have been implemented to limit the impact to patients and GPs.”

Earlier: Dorevitch Pathology staff across the state have taken industrial action in response to a lockout notice issued by their employer.

The 48-hour strike is in response to an Employer Response Action, sighted by The Courier, in  which Dorevitch directed  66 HWU members not to attend or perform work from 6pm on August 7.

The ERA was issued after the union put in an application for seven day’s notice of forthcoming industrial action.

The Health Workers Union (HWU) says 550 members have joined the stop-work action from 8.15am on Tuesday, in response to the action issued on Monday evening.

The strike is protected action under s.410 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

The strike action and lockout follows a protracted pay dispute, with staff claiming they have not received a pay rise since 2007, and allegations Dorevitch have refused to move on a pay deal.

Eight Ballarat staff have been named in the lockout notice.

Assistant secretary of the HWU David Eden told The Courier the lockout notice was a tactic usually reserved by employers to use against militant trade unions.

“These are not militant trade unionists: these are quite often women; single mothers; sole income earners and they are earning minimum wage,” said Mr Eden.

“A lot of there people have formal qualifications; they are doing specific tasks that no lay person could do.

“Dorevitch have targeted these 66 people across Victoria because they know if they went in and stood every one of those 550 people down, half their workforce would be missing.”

“They are standing down random people, union members who are participating in industrial action,  in an effort to intimidate the rest of the staff to get back to work. It’s very threatening.”

Mr Eden says Dorevitch’s pay offer has remained at zero per cent for the 12 months the HWU has been involved in negotiations.

“This is a company that is part of the pathology division of Primary Health and in the financial year ending 2016 contributed to a $126 million profit,” said Mr Eden.

“While these people are earning minimum wage, the executives of Dorevitch Pathology are rewarding themselves with massive bonuses.”

The Courier has contacted Dorevitch Pathology numerous times for comment.

Earlier: Staff at Dorevitch Pathology in Ballarat have been included in a lockout notice issued by their employer after voting to take protected industrial action under the Fair Work Act.

Sixty-six members of staff were named in the Employer Response Action, sighted by The Courier, which directed them not to attend or perform work from 6pm on August 7.

The strike action and lockout follows a protracted pay dispute, with staff claiming they have not received a pay rise since 2007. They claim to have been offered a ‘zero per cent’ pay rise by Dorevitch.

The Courier has contacted Dorevitch Pathology and the Health Workers Union Victoria No. 1 branch for comment.