HSUWA Fights for Secure Jobs

Tuesday 26 May 2020

The Health Services Union of WA (HSUWA) is fighting for secure jobs in the state’s public hospitals and health services, as part of its bargaining for a new Agreement, for WA’s health workers.

In 2018 the state government promised up to 13,000 public sector employees, employed on a casual or fixed-term basis, would be considered for immediate permanency, delivering better job security for workers and improved services for the community. Across our public health workforce however, nothing has changed.

Currently up to 40 per cent of jobs in the public health system under the union’s coverage are still performed by casuals or employees on fixed term contracts, which brings insecurity to a workplace and ultimately impacts services.

HSUWA Secretary Naomi McCrae said roles such as Occupational Therapists, Emergency Department Clerks and Security Officers in our public hospitals, are still being filled by casuals and temps.

“Right now, our public hospitals and health services rely on employees in insecure jobs to fully operate. In the context of a health crisis, this is a cause of concern for everyone. The pandemic lays bare the value of a strong foundation to our health services,” she said.

“Right now, we have staff constantly uncertain about their hours and their job. People think it is just the private sector that is affected by this problem but it’s not. There are highly trained workers from public health who have lost their casual hours. There are highly experienced Clinical Psychologists who are on short term, fixed term contracts for years on end."

“We need workers in secure jobs so that our health system has capacity and capability to deliver the quality care and services we need,” she said.

HSUWA wants the state government to work towards clear targets and timeframes to reduce the number of the public health workers in insecure jobs.

“We rely on fellow West Australians who are well trained and highly professional for our care. We all understand how important this is. These workers must be in secure jobs,” said HSUWA Secretary Naomi McCrae.

Negative outcomes of insecure jobs in health:

  • Skills and knowledge are lost due to turnover of staff
  • Uncertainty of personnel can affect the functioning of highly organised teams in the health care setting
  • Financial stress for employee
  • Uncertainty about the future for employee
  • Employees may be less willing to speak up, innovate or give frank advice
  • Higher costs for the employer and lower productivity



HSUWA represents more than 18,000 people employed in WA’s public hospitals and health services, including for example administrative staff, clerks, technicians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, medical imaging technologists, clinical psychologists, social workers, medical scientists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, dieticians, podiatrists, radiation therapists, mental health workers, and other health professionals.

All play a vital role in our health system.

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