Job loss fears trigger joint strike at Fremantle Hospital

Staff at Fremantle Hospital stop work to protest the possibility of job cuts.
Staff at Fremantle Hospital stop work to protest the possibility of job cuts.

FREMANTLE Hospital staff walked off the job on Wednesday to protest predicted job cuts.

In a joint strike action with Royal Perth Hospital, Fremantle staff stopped work to join union United Voice in protesting budget cuts that could see the loss of 70 jobs on top of those cut earlier this year when the Emergency Department closed.

Nurses, cleaners, orderlies, physiotherapists and occupational therapists were among those involved.

United Voice assistant secretary Pat O’Donnell said workers and the community needed to take up the fight.

“The focus has been on big, shiny buildings but hospitals aren’t run on big shiny buildings, they’re run on staff,” he said.

“Especially in Fremantle, you’ve had the chopping block hanging over your head.

“The decisions the government is making on how to run a hospital is impacting workers and patients.”

Cleaner Leanne Wooding and courier Ivo Letica, who have worked at Fremantle Hospital for four and 10 years respectively, said staff were not happy with news Fiona Stanley Hospital was at capacity while Fremantle was under-utilised.

“A lot of the morale is down through the hospital because people don’t know whether they’ll keep their jobs,” Ms Wooding said. “

More patients coming to Fremantle will help spread the load and keep wards open.”

“Staff have an expectation that this is not the end of unreasonable targets,” Mr Letica said.

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said pressure needed to be kept on the State Government to properly utilise the hospital and keep jobs safe.